From WILL - News Headlines -

CVB Funding Delayed in Urbana

Approval for new funding for the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau has been put on hold.

The Urbana City Council Monday night was expected to vote on giving the bureau about $19,000, but instead, the council sent that issue to the Committee of the Whole with a few provisions.

Alderman Brandon Bowersox-Johnson introduced a motion calling for a contractual agreement to identify which services would be funded, and how those services impact the community. The motion also looks at whether 40 North Arts funding should be handled through the CVB or the city.

Bowersox-Johnson said this should resolve some of the concerns about funding the bureau.

"Simply writing a check is not all of the puzzle," he said. "There are other pieces that I think it's up to us to solve, and to put into place so that we know if the city of Urbana invests in the CVB what benefit we can expect it to bring to the community."

Even without the motion being introduced, it was clear the funding measure wouldn't pass on Monday night. It wouldn't have had enough votes with two members of the city council absent.

CVB Director Jayne DeLuce was at the meeting. She said she is ready to work with Urbana officials on the issues outlined in the motion, but she admits the council's decision not to vote on the funding is a setback.

"We want to grow," DeLuce said. "This area is growing. Champaign County has so much to offer, and when you're strapped with a minimal level of funding, and you're about the fourth lowest funded CVB at least in the state of Illinois, it's hard to keep moving forward with very little resources."

DeLuce said the bureau has to match more than $320,000 it receives in state tourism grants, and she said so far, her department been able to meet about 80 percent of that funding.

Back in July, Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing said the agency has not been effective, and that the nearly $72,000 in the budget for the CVB could be used to help fill two police vacancies instead.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics