Village cuts Egg Harbor Business Association funding

The Village of Egg Harbor cut two thirds of the funding it had been providing for the Egg Harbor Business Association (EHBA) when it approved its 2012 budget Nov. 14.

“The EHBA has done an admirable job of promoting Egg Harbor,” said Village Administrator Josh Van Lieshout. “But they’re on solid financial footing and the board believed we could leverage those funds much better by improving amenities for visitors throughout the village, including walking paths, restrooms, and beautification efforts.”

Village President Nancy Fisher said the funding was originally used to help launch the EHBA’s revamped marketing effort and fund a coordinator several years ago. Since that time the association has been stabilized with Strategic Marketing Partnership funds from the Door County Visitor Bureau and record receipts from the last two Pumpkin Patch Festivals.

“We felt it was time to put our room tax revenue toward other amenities to aid tourism,” Fisher said. “There are other ways for the village to contribute to tourism than just writing a check.”

Jeff Larson, EHBA president, said he was disappointed in the funding cut but appreciates the village’s continuing support for tourism.

“At first there’s some shock at seeing your funding cut, but with the changes in Governor Walker’s budget, we anticipated some cuts,” Larson said. “I’m very excited about what we have coming up. We’ll continue to improve our services to visitors, and our long-range planning committee has worked on ideas to diversify our organization so we aren’t relying on one source of funding.”

The EHBA has begun preliminary planning on four new events in 2012. Larson said those events include a June art show, a car show in June or August, a craft beer festival in September, and discussions with the Door County YMCA to host its duathlon in the village.

Larson said the EHBA has had a “very good relationship with the village” and is in full support of the other plans the village is putting the money toward.

Those plans include walking paths, expansion of public restrooms at the beach, and continuing investigation of a new home for a visitor center, library and the Egg Harbor Historical Society.

Larson said the EHBA has had two straight fantastic Pumpkin Patch festivals and is in a strong financial position. The cut in funding from the village will not result in cuts to EHBA’s marketing or visitor center services, he said.

The Town of Egg Harbor reduced its financial support for EHBA as well, cutting its contribution from $14,000 to $6,000 and earmarking those funds for Birch Creek’s free family concerts.

Total budgeted expenditures for the village in 2012 come to $732,466, a 2.2 percent reduction from 2011. The budget includes a salary increase of 1.7 percent for village employees and $18,000 in funding for a dog park that Fisher expects to be reimbursed through donations. Over $4,500 in donations to the park have already been raised.

In other news, Fisher said the renovation of Fire Station #1 on Harbor School Road is on schedule and she expects work to be completed by Christmas.