The move to acquire $15,000 in "emergency funding" from COBI was removed from the Agenda by Deputy Joe Deets before it could be discussed. Although first agreed to by the Mayor, Leslie Schneider later called the plan "premature"..
Please note, this is not the original plan that was presented to the Council and public, it’s a remix.
For many business related reasons, this is a flawed plan.
Like pushing out a new website on December 4th to pick up holiday sales?
Or not knowing who or how the site will be administrated?
Or what if there is a dead link or a store closure that is not reported?
I will use the rest of this time to focus on the ethical and equitable ones. By agreeing to the plan, the City of Bainbridge Island would be:
- Ensuring a NON EQUITABLE process by removing the ability for anyone but the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and Chemistry Productions to make decisions on how to spend $15,000 in taxpayer dollars.
- Subverting the Request for Proposal process by fast tracking money to The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce so they could then spend it on predetermined vendors and a project that did not go through any RFP process to grant.
- Continuing to allow a very small group of people (3) speak for over 2,200 businesses on the Island.
To say the new website “hellobainbridge.com” is a slight retooling and re-skin of the General Store concept site provided to the Council by the Chamber and Chemistry Productions last month would be being kind.
And pulled straight from from the memo in the Council packet, this is an "initial version" of the General Store. All but confirming that the Chamber and Chemistry are all looking to subvert the process.
If anything, sending Council a new idea with a new site asking for new funding that will ask consumers to change how they shop for the gifts they most likely already purchased, should be a clear indication that this was not well thought out plan.
There is nothing immediate or equitable in this offering unless you are The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce or Stefan Goldby/Chemistry Productions.
It doesn't seem to meet the ethical sniff test.
If the City of Bainbridge Island or the City Council wanted to help businesses and the people within them immediately, they would decide how much of the $194,000 in available funds can go towards grants. After that they would look to use of the many "off the shelf" grant issuance delivery methods that have been successfully applied by other locals like the City of Poulsbo here.
You can tell yourself all day that this is “help” but this is nothing more than The Chamber of Commerce working with one Vendor to acquire $15,000 and put out another “project” without any community participation.