Port Angeles officials fault downtown association for deficiencies in first-quarter performance
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“City staff reviewed the [quarterly] report and determined 2014 first quarter performance to be in default and not in accordance with the PADA's funding agreement with the city of Port Angeles,” City Manager Dan McKeen wrote in a May 23 letter to PADA President Bob Lumens.
“At this time, you have 30 days from the date of this letter to correct and cure these non-performance concerns.”
McKeen said in the letter that PADA's report, received by the city April 10 and covering the first three months of this year, addressed only two of the group's 14 responsibilities detailed in the city's funding agreement with PADA, enacted in 2010.
McKeen's letter calls for details on how PADA spent a $20,000 business-and-occupation, or B&O, tax contribution from the city's electric utility.
City officials also want documentation on how PADA used funds collected through the Parking Business Improvement Area, assessed from business owners in the downtown area, to maintain and improve city-owned parking lots throughout downtown.
Among other areas that were deficient, according to McKeen's letter: information on first-quarter promotional efforts to improve economic development in the downtown and to recruit new businesses.
“It doesn't come close to covering the items incorporated in the contract,” said Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, referring to the one-page first-quarter report.
Lumens said Friday that he, PADA Executive Director Barb Frederick and association board members are preparing a response he expects to be completed by this week.
Lumens said he preferred to wait to specifically address the city's concerns about PADA's responsibilities under the funding agreement until the groups' response is done.
“It's not a 'no comment.' It [would be] premature because we have not made our response yet to the city,” Lumens said.
Lumens did say he felt PADA was meeting the expectations of the agreement.
“We feel, and this I think the response will show, that we are doing the things we're supposed to do,” he said.
City Council members during budget discussions last fall called for more accountability and measurable goals from the three economic development-related groups the city has historically funded, which include PADA.
The other two are the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Clallam County Economic Development Council.
“What we want to emphasize to these agencies is that the status quo is no longer acceptable and [that] we need to see changes that result in measurable performance outcomes,” West said.
The city agreed to the $20,000 B&O tax contribution after money that had come annually since 2006 from the city's economic development fund to PADA was removed from the 2014 city budget.
In his letter, McKeen also expressed concern that PADA had reported only $49,824 spent on parking lot maintenance between 2008 and 2013.
Lumens said information on how much PADA has spent on parking lot maintenance is included in the organization's budget, which is shared with the city.
Lumens said the organization uses a combination of money generated from the Parking Business Improvement Area, a lease agreement for the parking lot near the state Department of Health and Human Services building downtown and from the sale of downtown parking decals to pay for parking lot maintenance.
The remainder goes to operating expenses.
“I do think that we're doing the job we're supposed to do with money that we're provided,” Lumens said.
Roughly $9,400 in parking assessments was collected from business owners from January to March, according to PADA figures.
Between $34,000 and $35,000 was collected annually from 2010 to 2012.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: June 14. 2014 6:18PM