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Port may not share marketing consultant with city

POULSBO — Talk of hiring a marketing consultant to be shared by the City of Poulsbo and the Port of Poulsbo may have been shortlived.

The port’s Board of Commissioners decided Wednesday to keep port marketing in-house.

Commissioners Tony DeCarlo and Stephen Swann held a special workshop meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the city’s proposal. Commissioner Jim Rutledge did not attend and did not return messages by press time.

DeCarlo and Swann were concerned the port would spend more money on an outside marketing consultant than if it expanded its own marketing in-house. The city estimates a marketing consultant would cost about $30,000 a year, working about 30 hours a week. Officials asked the port to consider splitting the salary.

A few port tenants also spoke out against spending money on an outside consultant.

“Coordinating with other businesses [and activities] is an appropriate function,” tenant Rodney McVicker said. “Giving money to someone outside is not an appropriate function” for the port.

McVicker said the port will have limited funds in the future as the city grows, because the port district does not grow with the city.

Jannese Petersen, the guest moorage attendant, said it was very important for the port to have this discussion. She said she often gets questions from visiting boaters about local events, restaurants and activities, and she would like to better coordinate events with the city and the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association.

“This marina is an oyster, it’s an absolute oyster, and there’s a pearl just waiting to be taken …,” Petersen said.

Petersen gave the commissioners several ideas for port-led activities and incentives, and how to publicize the port and local events through free media, such as Facebook. She also suggested retooling the port’s website to include links to local businesses and a calendar of events.

Staff members also suggested the port offer discounted moorage rates in the wintertime to encourage visitors and yacht clubs.

Port Manager Kirk Stickels said boat nights have dipped since the recession — the port saw 7,578 visits in 2007, compared to 5,590 visits in 2012.

A study commissioned by the port showed the port contributed $2.28 million to the city’s economy in 2011, based on the Washington state Economic Development Commission’s estimate of daily average visitor dollars.

DeCarlo thought Petersen had some great ideas, and said the full commission would be discussing the next steps at their Feb. 7 meeting. Commissioners would have to compare the cost of hiring a marketing consultant to the cost of a part-time employee.

DeCarlo said the commission may change the job description of a current employee to include marketing, and hire a part-time employee to relieve the full-time employee of maintenance duties.

 

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