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City seeks consultants to provide economic development, marketing and tourism services
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The Turlock City Council will consider on Tuesday creating a competitive bid process to provide tourism services previously rendered by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with economic development services and marketing and branding services.

If approved by the Council, the City plans to issue Request for Proposals for the three services in a staggered manner to "better manage the entire process as well as to oversee the expectation that any of the contracted consultants will be required to work with the others to deliver interrelated outcomes."

The 24-year partnership between the City of Turlock and the Chamber of Commerce to operate provide tourism services under the Convention and Visitors Bureau came to an end in February 2015. Since then the City has assumed some of the community grants and event coordination that the CVB used to provide. The RFP to provide tourism services for the City will include a comprehensive study and analysis of tourism within Turlock, along with evaluating the local hotel industry. The tourism consultant will be expected to make strategic and operational recommendations that will enhance tourism and promote the City as a destination location.

The City's Economic Development Plan, adopted in 2014, aims to foster a healthy business community. The plan includes the development of a marketing strategy to promote increased patronage of Turlock businesses and attract new businesses as well. The economic development services RFP will seek a consultant to "compile findings and develop a succinct message that highlights Turlock's distinctive competencies and communicates the City's desired economic development identity," according to a City staff report prepared by Maryn Pitt, assistant to the city manager for economic development and housing.

The RFP for marketing and branding services will focus on four tasks: 1. Research and foundation; 2. Branding and message development; 3. Strategic brand implementation and community engagement; and 4. Collaboration with consultants that have been contracted to prepare the economic development and tourism strategies.

Funds to pay for the consulting services will come from the City's Fund 120 Tourism. The financial impact cannot be determined, however, until proposals have been submitted and contracts negotiated.

City staff is proposing that a review committee be established to evaluate the submitted proposals, with recommendations to go before the City Council for approval.

Also on Tuesday, the Council is expected to:

Hear a final reading of a number of Turlock Municipal Code amendments and consider an amendment to reflect the correct fees for solid waste services adopted by the Council on Oct. 27, 2015;Consider issuing a Request for Proposals for a parks and recreation management software system;Consider approving the closure of Cooper Avenue between Oak Street and Rose Street for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church to host the Jesus Vive Retreat on Sept. 17 and 18; the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima Oct. 1-3; and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12;Consider accepting grants funds to administer the 2016 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program through the Office of Traffic Safety in the amount of $110,000; andConsider accepting grant funds and allocate required matching funds for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant with the Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $21,637.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.