The Cattaraugus County Legislature's Agriculture and Development Committee this week shied away from appropriating $27,000 for a radio promotion campaign, but agreed to spend $3,000 on community training for tourism marketing.
Committee Chairman E. James Ellis, R-Cattaraugus, said the agency's request to begin a five-week radio "Enchanted Mountain" advertising campaign during Thanksgiving week on the county's new "Enchanted Mountain" brand came at the wrong time.
He said that the money will be placed in a contingency fund and carried over into the new budget year, when the committee might consider appropriating funds for launching the campaign in spring or for some other purpose.
A $60,000 budget was set aside for the agency's tourism promotions in 2003. Any spending must first be authorized by the committee.
The tourism promotion agency's board had used some of that amount to aid local chambers of commerce and municipalities in their tourism efforts throughout the year.
But the agency recently withheld support for spending about $4,000 out of the budget on imprinted plastic bags, which are used by the county Tourism Department staff to distribute thousands of brochures at trade shows and conferences. The board members had hoped to spend that money instead this fall in launching the Enchanted Mountain campaign.
In an agency board meeting held last week, Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce Director Brian McFadden presented the plan for five weeks of metropolitan Buffalo radio advertising to attract Christmas shoppers to the county. In exchange for several days of production work by his staff, the Ellicottville attractions were to receive a third of all radio spots. The remaining two-thirds would focus on other areas of the county.
When one board member objected, stating some smaller communities might not know what to do with an influx of tourist shoppers, the group agreed to add the $3,000 for marketing education.
Ellis's committee met for an emergency session to consider both requests the day before the Legislature approved the county's preliminary budget, but members felt rushed and also thought the idea was too costly.
"They just kept asking, 'What would the people come down from Buffalo and Toronto to buy,' " Ellis said.
He added the agency's leaders appeared unprepared to include the Seneca Nation, Amish community and other locales in the radio promotion.
Ellis said the concept might be lost in the rush of the season. Some committee members said the promotion would probably work better when the leaves are changing color or in the spring.
Ellis said the committee voted to authorize the $3,000 educational plan, but his motion for the $27,000 promotion effort died for lack of a second.