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10/31/2012 12:48:00 PM
Council discusses budget, increasing LAP funds

Kacie Thrift
Staff writer




The Leavenworth Area Promotion (LAP) fund in the city budget may increase after a study session showed many in favor of the budget proposal.

Leavenworth City Administrator Joel Walinski said during the last study session there was a discussion of an $84,300 increase to the LAP fund.

The LAP fund increase would include an increase of $10,000 in General Promotions, $8,000 in travel guides, $29,300 in Media Buys, $40,000 for Stevens Pass Winter Promotions and a reduction of $3,000 in Media Production.

Walinski told the council city staff members are thinking about removing the Stevens Pass Winter Promotions from the proposed LAP fund budget and instead approving it in January as a separate fund.

The proposed budget stated council finance committee and staff recommends keeping Stevens Pass funding separate from LAP funding in the budget, but LAP would administer any funds provided for Stevens Pass.

At this time city staff have included an increase of 5 percent in the lodging tax funding for their budget which would be about a $22,725 increase.

"Right now the lodging tax fund looked good with great numbers for about seven months and then we started having a down tip. By doing it this way and postponing the Stevens Pass approval you will be able to have a better assessment of the lodging tax dollars, Walinski said.

One concern of the lodging tax fund was the issue of high amounts of smoke in the valley last month. Some of the council members were concerned of a decrease in the lodging tax fund due to people avoiding the town during the smoke filled weeks.

Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Farivar said city staff won't know until next month if the smoke has affected the budget.

One council member said the city has not seen a decrease in revenues and the fund will not suffer because people are still coming.

Another councilman said the council and city staff needed to be careful not to push money into the LAP fund that isn't necessary.

Farivar then moved the conversation on to the museum. The Leavenworth Museum requested an increase from $5,000 to $10,000 from the Lodging Tax Funds. Farivar said the money has been included in the proposed budget contingent upon the Museum charging a minimum of $2.50 for entry, considering and exploring further revenue generation such as wedding ceremonies and investigation into a potential new location for higher visitor awareness.

"The truth is this museum needs additional funding and they need it on an ongoing basis. Our focus is we want them to get up and running on their own nickel," Farivar said. "the Icicle Fund is willing to fund the museum another $5,000 for two years meaning 2013 and 2014 contingent on the city doing the same thing."

A few city council members said they support the decision to match the Icicle Fund.

At the end of the study session on the 2013 budget, Farivar and Councilman Michael Molohon spoke with the council about taking a trip to Bavaria Germany.

"Joel and I have been discussing the city council members who have never been to Bavaria, we need to go. It's a familiarization tour, a delegation group trip," Farivar said.

Molohon went over the costs with council members and figured it would be around $3,000 per person for the trip.

"I have been preaching for a long time if we are going to be the Bavarian Village we need to know what we are talking about," Molohon said.

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 548-5286 or reporter@leavenworthecho.com.





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