At the request of the city, the Durango Area Tourism Office has compiled documents detailing the work it does to sell the town to tourists and to manage the Durango Welcome Center.
Drafts of the two scope-of-services documents, which cover operations for 2019, were circulated Monday at the DATO board of directors meeting. Drafts were also given to City Manager Ron LeBlanc and Assistant City Manager Amber Blake for comments before final documents are delivered to the city.
“They didn’t ask for such detailed documents, but we thought they would be good to provide,” said Carrie Whitley, chairwoman of DATO’s board of directors.
The scope-of-services document for tourism marketing shows DATO operating revenues are supported by $570,579 in lodgers tax revenues collected by the city, $350,000 in lodgers tax revenues collected by La Plata County and $99,375 collected from sales made on its website, durango.org.
The Welcome Center operates with $155,000 in lodgers tax revenue collected by the city and $48,000 in revenue generated by advertising sales at the center, 802 Main Ave.
In December, Durango city councilors discussed bidding out tourism marketing, a job long held by DATO. City Councilor Chris Bettin suggested seeking proposals from other vendors as a cost-saving measure.
Whitley said Monday the city has not put out a request for proposals for tourism marketing, but the city may issue an RFP for tourism marketing for 2020 or for later years.
The move to bid out tourism marketing came after former DATO Executive Director Frank Lockwood suggested the city broke rules by transferring lodgers tax dollars from the tourism fund to pay for transit, events and administrative fees.
Lockwood, who was fired by DATO in January, said his contract with DATO requires mediation of any disputes. After threatening to sue DATO for failing to enter mediation, Lockwood said DATO had agreed to enter mediation talks to discuss a severance package.
On Monday, Whitley said DATO has a lawyer in contact with Lockwood, but DATO has not yet begun talks with Lockwood.
Lockwood said mediation has been delayed until April after DATO discovered its insurance covered the situation between the DATO board and himself. He said the insurance company’s attorney needs to be brought up to speed about the situation and must agree to a mediator with Lockwood.