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Mayor seeks creation of marketing job

Mayor Michael W. Tucker has asked the Common Council to create a full-time marketing and communications manager position for the city.

Tucker said Wednesday the post would be paid for by sending less money to the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.

At Wednesday's Council work session, Tucker said the newcomer would work with Department of Planning and Development Director R. Charles Bell.

Bell said a salary of $41,000 to $45,000 a year "is about right in terms of being fiscally responsible and making sure we get somebody who is going to bring real value."

The city has a contract with the NTCC, the countywide tourism promotion agency, under which Lockport sends the NTCC 75 percent of its proceeds from the 4 percent "bed tax" on hotel and motel bills. Bell said that payment was about $80,000 last year.

"We'll just have to redo the contract," Tucker said. "This is more Lockport-focused. NTCC is more Western New York-focused. If you look at the visitors' guide, we're in the back."

The mayor said Lockport needs someone to take charge of its promotional work and try to get a unified effort out of its sometimes-fractious tourism community.

He believes Lockport receives about 250,000 visits a year to various events, ranging from the Friday night summer concert series to the daily local attractions and the various annual events.

Thus the new job, whose lists of qualifications and duties has been approved by the city Civil Service Commission. However, Tucker said it's unclear if the person he appoints to the new job will have to take a civil service test.

"It will pay for itself," said Alderwoman Anne E. McCaffrey, R-2nd Ward. "Our last updated visitor guide was five or six years ago. We've had a real spotty presence, both printed material-wise and on the Web."

The Council will discuss the issue and make a decision on creating the job as soon as next Wednesday's meeting.