Published: Dec 29, 2012 02:15 PM
Modified: Dec 29, 2012 02:14 PM
MORRISVILLE - The towns chamber of commerce wants Morrisville to spend more money to market itself and set it apart from Wake Countys other 11 municipalities.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carlotta Ungaro is asking the Morrisville Town Council for an additional $20,000. The money would be used for a new website, trips to trade shows and site-consultant conferences, and a part-time communications assistant.
If the council approves the request, it would nearly double the amount Morrisville currently spends on economic development.
In the past year, Ungaro said, no prospective businesses have inquired directly with the chamber, which handles economic development for Morrisville. Instead, businesses are referred through Wake County Economic Development, which sends a list of potential companies to Wake towns.
If I were doing direct marketing, I wouldnt be competing with our next-door neighbors, Ungaro said. I would be competing with places like Atlanta or Savannah.
Now, economic-development information is found on the chambers website. Ungaro wants to create a separate website dedicated to economic development.
Morrisville gives the chamber $32,000 a year for economic development. That money pays a portion of Ungaros salary and the time she spends representing the town in regional meetings, answering queries, updating economic data and strategic planning.
The town council was wary of Ungaros request for more money. Several council members expressed concern at their December meeting over recurring expenses and the towns return on investment.
The council is in the process of renegotiating its overall contract with the chamber.
We need to have a big-picture discussion about this, said Mayor Jackie Holcombe. There is a big jump from $32,000 to $52,000. I would like to see justification.
Holcombe asked Ungaro if there was a guarantee the town would attract more business if it spent more on marketing.
Ungaro said all she could guarantee was that the marketing plan would be executed.
This is a start in the right direction, Ungaro said. If they dont know about Morrisville, they cant know how great it is.
Councilwoman Liz Johnson said some of the items on Ungaros list such as a part-time employee and website maintenance would be recurring expenses.
Johnson also asked for more discussion before committing to short-term or long-term funding.