VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 28   |   JULY 13 – 19, 2011


Carefree revisits speed limits

‘I’ve been practicing all day at how to disagree without being disagreeable’

jim van allenCAREFREE – Council unanimously passed a resolution adopting the fiscal year 2011/2012 budget, without any comments from council or the public, although Councilman Jim Van Allen (r) questioned whether approving the budget meant they were agreeing to pay off the fire truck early.

Mayor David Schwan said it did not and the fire truck was a separate agenda item.

Council voted unanimously to pass the second reading of an ordinance to reduce the permit fee for estate sales from $100 to $25 and to allow two per year per residential household instead of one.

By a vote of 5-2, council agreed to pay off the town’s fire truck early, which, according to Town Administrator Gary Neiss, will save the town $33,000.

Neiss said, even after paying off both the Sundial building and the fire truck, the town was still preserving 84 percent of its cash reserves.

He also noted there were not very many cities and towns around these days that could boast about having no debt.

Van Allen expressed reservations about the early payoff and, along with Councilman Glenn Miller, dissented.

Carefree unanimously adopted the 2010-2011 amendments to the town’s tax code as per the Model City Tax Code recommendations from the League of Cities and Towns.

Council, once again, has decided to revisit speed limits in the town core with the first reading of an ordinance that would change the speed limit from 25 MPH to 30 MPH, which Neiss said was consistent with Traffic Engineer Paul Basha’s recommendations.

Neiss said the cost to change the signs would be $350 and if council later decided it wanted to change it back could easily do so.

Mayor David Schwan encouraged citizens to chime in on the issue before the second reading on Aug. 2.

After much discussion, council voted 5-1 in favor of entering into a $72,000 marketing contract with the Carefree Business Association (CBA), with Van Allen dissenting and Vice Mayor Melissa Price recusing herself from voting, citing she is “part of the CBA.”

Council queried Town Attorney Michael Wright, who said he reviewed the contract and had no problem with it.

holly pagliaro bergmanOne concern would appear to be the name of the organization. When Holly Pagliaro (l) and Jo Gemmill decided to form an LLC for the Carefree Business Association, they told council they were informed by the Arizona Corporation Commission they couldn’t use “Association” for an LLC so they instead filed their articles of incorporation under the name Carefree Business Group, LLC.

The contract approved by council, however, is between the town of Carefree and the “Carefree Business Association (DBA as the Carefree Business Group).”

Also, Pagliaro, who formed the LLC with Gemmill, did so under the name Pagliaro, while the contract with the town is signed using the name Bergman.

A call to Wright was not readily returned.

Gemmill said they will be using the slogan, “Carefree – Experience the difference.” She also said the signs in town were effective, regardless if council members liked the color.

Pagliaro presented the marketing plan developed with Kim Prince of Proven Media.

She said they took last year’s four-month marketing plan and expanded it to 12 months.

Pagliaro said they would be doing marketing, PR and mixed media.

“Our objective is to bring people to Carefree to shop, dine and lodging,” said Pagliaro, stating they were targeting those 45 and up with disposable income.

Councilman Michael Farrar questioned Prince’s background, asking what sort of experience she had with respect to tourism marketing of municipalities.

Gemmill said Prince was involved in marketing and PR for town events, including the Christmas Festival.

She said, “No, she doesn’t market municipalities and no, we didn’t look at other agencies. We don’t have the budget. If the town wants to put out an RFP to advertising agencies that would be wonderful.”

Farrar asked who owned the website and domain name. Pagliaro said she did but only because CBA didn’t have any money and she paid for it.

He said his only concern was $72,000 was a significant dollar amount and there was no narrative included as to why they were selecting certain magazines. “I would have liked to have seen an alternative,” said Farrar.

Schwan told Farrar he could blame him.

“The history of this is we used volunteers – this grew from nothing. The sophistication you seek may come in future years,’ said Schwan, adding, “I only asked for a marketing plan. They did what I asked.”

Councilman Arthur Gimson stated, “We have two experts in marketing with successful businesses for 10 years.”

Councilman Marty Saltzman stated, without any empirical data, “We won’t know if some of this works until we do it.”

Councilman Jim Van Allen said, “I’ve been practicing all day at how to disagree without being disagreeable,” and asked how many people are involved in CBA.

Pagliaro stated CBA doesn’t have members but said there are five people on the steering committee.

Van Allen said, “We’re being asked to spend $72,000 with just this in front of us,” as he held up the scant three-page contract.

Saltzman stated, “I don’t see this as a perfect solution for our money.”

Schwan said it reminded him of an old marketing statement, probably from the automotive industry, “I know half my money’s been wasted, I just don’t know which half.”

Farrar said he didn’t want his comments to be taken the wrong way and appreciated all their efforts but stated, “When you see grammatical errors in the proposal, it makes you skeptical – What will the press releases look like?”

During public comment, Al Swanson said he was in total agreement with the plan.

Catherine Marr of Venues Café said all the merchants on Easy Street knew something needed to be done and stated 40 percent of her customers surveyed said the new signs brought them in.

Jeff Bergman, Pagliaro’s husband, announced he used to be part owner of Spring Air Mattress before it was sold and said, “You have two women who have donated their time to help and market the town. I urge you to support what they’re doing.”

Robert Gabrick, who owns Carefree Station, said, “It is impossible to know where the benefit comes from,” but said his business has seen a double-digit increase this year.
He said, “I think they’ve done a stellar job.”

Neiss said the revenue generated by business licenses and event fees are earmarked for marketing. He said there was $56,500 in licenses and fees collected so the net cost to the town is actually less than $20,000.

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