West Dundee leaders are saying no for now on splitting the cost of a marketing director that East Dundee recently hired to promote its downtown activities and businesses.
Pointing to an expected $100,000 budget shortfall, a poll that shows five out of seven downtown businesses don't support hiring a marketing director, and the fact that West Dundee does not yet have a concept plan a marketing director could promote, trustees said they just aren't ready to make the financial commitment.
"We're going to take a pass on this because it's premature," Trustee Michelle Kembitzky said.
East Dundee hired Karen Blair as the Dundee marketing director in October. She still works as the marketing coordinator at Otto Engineering, but is transitioning out of that position into her new job in East Dundee, she said Monday.
Tom Roeser, president and chief executive officer of Otto, has partnered with East Dundee and agreed to pay Blair's $64,000 salary until April 1. East Dundee would pick up the tab after that date.
"We all want to redevelop and grow as communities," Blair said Monday. "You need the synergy of a community."
West Dundee's financial commitment would have been about $70,000 annually. Besides paying half of Blair's salary, the village would have also paid half the bill for new program development and administrative costs.
Blair's duties involve developing an overall marketing strategy, overseeing and coordinating all community event activities and revitalization efforts in the downtown. Her goal is to turn the village into a destination spot by bringing more people there. If West Dundee agreed to the concept, Blair would have also marketed its downtown.
But Trustee Patrick Hanley pointed out that the village needs to know what it wants in its downtown plan first so Blair can take that direction and run with it, instead of her pushing something the village doesn't know it wants.
"Hopefully, a year from now, we will have those plans ready for someone like you," Hanley said.
Trustee Tom Price said he couldn't support the concept because a majority of the businesses polled aren't behind it.
"We can't force them to take the help," Price said.
The $100,000 anticipated budget shortfall comes as a result of lost sales tax revenue, as the village is still feeling the pain from Best Buy shuttering its West Dundee store last year, Finance Director David Danielson said Monday.
"The loss of Best Buy continues to hurt," Danielson said.
Officials will see whether it's feasible to help fund the position for next year's budget and will also keep an eye on Blair's marketing efforts in East Dundee.
West Dundee will continue partnering with its neighbor to the east on community events as it has in the past, West Dundee Village Manager Joe Cavallaro said.