Lynchburg City Manager Makes Tourism Suggestions

Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg City Council was talking tourism Tuesday night during their work session.

In recent months, the topic has been one to stir emotion among some council members. The tourism budget has been brought back to the drawing board; the city's contract with the chamber of commerce is up at the end of 2013.

Tuesday, Lynchburg City Manager Kimball Payne had some strong words for the council.

He started off by saying city council does not nitpick specific contracts in any other city department as they've done with tourism.

Of course, as of late, there's been a back and forth among some council members regarding who is contracted with the city to provide a tourism program.

Payne Tuesday, in an effort to move this process along laid out three suggestions for council.

To go with a third party provider, and not to have tourism be a direct product of the city; to fund tourism through fiscal year 2014 at some level; and to draft a contract with a provider containing specific provisions that council can sign off on.

Mayor Mike Gillette agreed with the proposal, admitting to a recent lack of communication between the city and the chamber on the future of the program.

"We can't turn this into political football every time there's some thought of what next year's funding might look like" said Gillette.

The city manager also suggested that because the tourism budget deals with public funds, that the actions of the tourism board be subject not only to the freedom of information act, but also the conflict of interest act, and the public procurement act.