FCAG votes against using consultant for 1 percent tax advertising

Sep 9, 2012 By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Association of Governments board voted unanimously not to use a consultant to publicize the 1 percent optional sales tax that will be on the November general election ballot.

Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman moved Aug. 9 for FCAG to do its "own thing" and not pursue Kaiser & Company.

Lander Mayor Mick Wolfe seconded, and the motion passed.

The county and municipalities have passed resolutions that would dedicate the optional tax's monies to street, water and sewer projects if approved by voters.

Kaiser & Company, a firm being considered for consulting the campaign, did not attend the group's August meeting as scheduled.

The company was targeted by Lander community resource coordinator Gary Michaud, Lander Mayor Mick Wolfe and Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness.

FCAG executive director Pamela Canham said the company's failure to appear was a "snafu in communication."

Just before the discussion, Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman said, "It doesn't sound like they want our business very bad."

According to FCAG's July meeting minutes, a Kaiser representative was supposed to be at that month's meeting as well but didn't attend.

This month, Kaiser representative Dan Baxter was on vacation.

Canham said the company's president and CEO was "very, very apologetic."

Warpness said the group was going to lay out the process of how they could help with the campaign.

"I had a hard time seeing what we're paying for," he said.

"The more hands-on they are, the more the cost," Canham said about Kaiser.

She said the company had brochure templates and could help put together "collateral pieces."

"Do we even have enough time to hire them at all?" Blakeman asked.

"My main concern is ... we don't have that money budgeted for this," said Pavillion Mayor and FCAG chairman Gary Hamlin. "It can't come from the towns. It has to come from private entities. ... FCAG is already kind of stretched on our budget."

A brochure about the 1 percent sales tax was passed around the table and received positive remarks from the board members. Citizens for Improved Roads political action committee member Dave Myers said it was put together by City of Riverton staff.

"I don't think we need them," Blakeman said of Kaiser.

Canham said the company was willing to set up another meeting with FCAG within the next week, but none of the board voiced support for the idea.

PAC update

Myers supplied the board with copies of a compact disc containing a logo that was put together by himself and Black Dog Design.

The logo says "FOR. Fix our roads. Vote for optional one-cent." In the acronym, the O is replaced by the image of a penny with a man shoveling dirt.

Warpness said he used a sign with the logo during two parades, and it generated "a lot of discussion."

He said he didn't think the effort needs a "high-powered sales pitch," though he did say he would start hitting the local club speaker circuit soon.

"I've just been out of town," Myers said of not raising more funds recently.

He told the board he would begin reaching out for more donations.

This would include approaching oil companies.

Canham said the 1 percent tax would be in the company's best interest as it could generate projects and revenue for them.

There was also talk of purchasing yard signs, which Blakeman felt was the best option.

"I don't have quite enough to do yard signs yet," Myers said.

"Can we use the town crew to put them out?" Blakeman asked.

Warpness said that would be a "marginal" action.

There was also talk of advertising on the sides of the Wind River Transportation Authority's buses.

The public transportation agency is under FCAG's administration.

WRTA transportation manager Ben Eastmond didn't see any problems.

"It's really in our interest," he said.

Eastmond was asked to look into the cost of buying signs for the side of the buses.

Canham asked the board if they had seen the action the Fremont County Commission took to clarify the term of the 1 percent tax if approved. The commission amended its resolution to give the tax a four-year life before it would be up for another vote.

"I'm glad they did it," she said. "People automatically assume it'll be there forever."

Warpness said he was caught off-guard by the commission's action.

"I feel a little uncomfortable with them making the change without contacting any of the mayors," he said.

Canham admitted she was surprised as well.

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