Solvang City Council rescinds decision to terminate chamber and visitors bureau contracts

Alternative negotiations continued

Solvang City Council rescinds decision to terminate chamber and visitors bureau contracts

SOLVANG, Calif. - Public comments urged The Solvang City Council not to make decisions behind closed doors in violation of California's Brown Act.

One woman said, "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse."

The comments follow an investigation into a closed door decision made on July 8 when the council announced  the termination of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce and Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau contracts. 

On Monday night the Solvang City Council voted unanimously to rescind the vote.

Council members also decided to invite the chamber and bureau to give presentations, like the ones that were canceled abruptly at the same meeting last month.

An Ad Hoc committee will meet with the presenters. 

A former chamber official came to the meeting to show his support what chambers do/

Past chamber president Ken Sorenson said, "Chambers do a great job for the entire city and actually the entire valley here supporting local tourism businesses. They are so busy, most of them are mom and pop operations that are so busy taking care of their own businesses, they don't have time to do their own advertising program, and besides we should have an advertising program that is cohesive."

But some longtime residents said money spent to promote tourism would be better spend to upgrade the old waste water treatment plant.

Solvang resident Hank Homburg said, "It's kind of like a 'Catch 22' the city makes money on tourism and at the same time we have an infrastructure demand as residents that needs to be addressed, so spending $800,000 on tourism is a huge amount of money for the size of what Solvang is, basically 6,000 people."

The council decided to continue a discussion of contract negotiations and alternatives.

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