Langley council to consider new contract with Langley chamber

The Langley City Council will get its first look at a fresh contract with the Langley Chamber of Commerce next week.

Council members will be asked at their meeting Monday to give Mayor Paul Samuelson permission to sign a new four-year contract with the Langley chamber.

It’s the first one in a long time.

The city has gone without a contract with the Langley Chamber of Commerce since 2008, after the previous agreement expired at the end of then-mayor Neil Colburn’s term.

It’s not known why the contract was never extended. Councilwoman Rene Neff asked Mayor Paul Samuelson who was responsible for making sure there was an updated contract with the chamber at the council’s first budget meeting in November, and the mayor said the contract was administered by the finance department. Under state law, however, the mayor is charged with making sure all city contracts and agreements “are faithfully kept and performed.”

An explanation was still not forthcoming this week.

Langley chamber president Mary Ann Mansfield was also unsure why no contract existed.

“The answer is, ‘I don’t know,’” Mansfield said in an email to the Record.

“We have a good working relationship with the city and both parties were continuing to operate under the same agreement as no changes were deemed necessary,” she continued.

“Although the contract had expired, the handshake had not,” she said.

The contract oversight is somewhat surprising, given last year’s intense focus on tourism funds during the review of the 2010 budget. Greater scrutiny was put on expenditures from the city’s six-figure account, and the city council said that some activities — tree trimming, for example — shouldn’t be financed with tourism dollars.

The new contract with the chamber spans a four-year period, and runs through Dec. 31, 2015. The proposed “promotion services agreement” requires the chamber to submit an annual work plan to the city.

Under the new agreement, the chamber will not get a set amount for tourism promotion.

Instead, the chamber’s pay would be set each year during the budget process. The level would range between 1 and 4 percent of the city’s hotel-motel tax revenue.

In 2012, Langley has budgeted to pay the chamber $23,250, a slight drop from the $24,065 set aside for the nonprofit this year.

The total tourism fund for 2012 is budgeted at $118,686. Hotel-motel taxes are expected to hit $93,000.

Even after the council approves the new agreement, there is still more to come: a new lease agreement for the city-owned office building used by the chamber for its office and visitor center on Anthes Avenue.

The lease has been under review, as has the chamber’s contributions toward maintaining the building and adjacent public restrooms.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19 at city hall.