Tuesday, May 5, 2009

City spending

At the City Council meeting earlier tonight, the council approved spending up to $200,000 to consultants to enlarge the city's public profile and to kick off an advertising/marketing campaign.

This on the heels of an Associated Press-provided report that Tracy hired lobbying firm Jordan & Associates for $48,000 to push its funding case for the next year.

On the surface, it smacks of throwing money away to consultants while city workers are cutting back on their hours and city services are being curtailed. But that might not be the whole story.

According to that same AP report, Leon Churchill, Tracy's city manager, millions of dollars could be gained (exceeding $75 million) from Jordan & Associates' lobbying efforts.

And $200,000 for marketing and advertising might be a pittance compared to what the investment returns, if the effort is as effective as the city hopes. (Think, few corporations become successful and attract business without good marketing and advertising.)

Or, to paraphrase Councilman Mike Maciel at Tuesday's meeting, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Here's hoping that Maciel is right, and that these City Council decisions prove to be sound investments instead of money down the drain. Because Tracy (or any city) should spend as little money on consultants as possible.

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