Mayor: Market Port Townsend as more than tourist town
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We have a steady stream of tourists, and have done a good job of bringing people in and putting heads in beds,” David King told around 70 people at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday.
“I would like to see the same efforts being used to support local business development.
“A lot of us already buy many things locally, but I'd like us to import more money and spend that money locally.”
King said Christina Pivarnik, the city marketing director, has done an admirable job in promoting tourism and that he would like to see her strategy be expanded.
“I would like us to be as clear about what a good place this is to live and work, that it is more than a wonderful place to visit,” King said.
'“We've made an investment in infrastructure and that is a good investment for a tourist economy,” he said.
“We need to look good for our visitors and making sure we are putting our best foot forward.”
King, who took office in 2012, gave his second annual “State of the City” address to the chamber and outlined several of the last year's positives and negatives.
During 2012 the city implemented a plastic-bag ban, completed renovations on Taylor Street and the Civic Plaza, and became proactive about finance matters early in the year.
This didn't protect the city from the disclosure of a sales tax allocation that brought in less revenues than projected, causing staff cutbacks and service reductions.
These setbacks led to government partnerships that will continue, King said.
“I feel good about working with the county and the school district in the future,” he said.
“We have made serious efforts in leveraging our unity.”
Another accomplishment in 2012 was the resolution of the ownership of Kah Tai Lagoon, which King said “is still generating a lot of paperwork.”
King said that city will this year address the extension of Howard Street to wDiscovery Road, address library financing and work toward acquiring ownership of the Customs House, the Washington Street landmark that could be surplused by the U.S. Postal Service.
During a question-and-answer session, King was asked whether these efforts could be combined, and the Customs House used as a library facility. w
“I hadn't thought of that,” King said.
“I could give a male syndrome answer but I think I'll pass.”
After a moment, King answered seriously that such a move was unlikely “because we would want anything in that space to be able to pay for itself.”
King said the library and revenue and expense issues will be discussed at the next town meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 25 in the council chambers of the Historic City Hall, 540 Water St.
“We've only had one town meeting because we've been overtaken by events,” King said, “although it could take another couple of meetings before we can get our heads around what we are doing for the city library.”
The city has tentatively scheduled and postponed several town meeting dates.
On Monday, he heard a reason why it should be postponed again.
“I'm wondering whether the 25th is set in stone because it's the first night of a Jewish holiday,” said Sheila Khalov at the end of King's address.
“Does this holiday include a prohibition of attending public meetings?” King asked.
“It's Passover,” Khalov responded.
“The short answer is that it probably is [set in stone],” King said.
“But I'll bring it up.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: March 11. 2013 6:08PM