MITCHELL — The City of Mitchell has created a new job aimed at bringing more events to Mitchell and promoting the city’s sports and event facilities.
According to the salary structure of the new full-time job titled Administrative Coordinator, it will come with a starting salary of $53,585 and a benefits package of $32,000. City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein described several key roles of the new position, which includes social media marketing for the city and its facilities, coordinating the events calendar and serving as a point of contact between the city and working alongside the Sports and Events Authority (SEA) board.
“It’s really more about doing special projects assigned to them and bringing more events and usage to city facilities,” Ellwein said, noting that the post would also be coordinating the special event. and permit applications submitted to the city.
The new position has the backing of Council Speaker Kevin McCardle, who said many of the city’s sporting and event facilities are underutilized. With the newly created job role aimed at bringing more events to Mitchell, McCardle said it will help address an issue with underutilized facilities while increasing sales tax revenue.
“I think we have a bunch of facilities around Mitchell that we don’t use. That person would come in and bring events to those facilities that had been sitting empty,” McCardle said. “We need someone to come and use these facilities and bring people to Mitchell to spend money here.”
While Mitchell City Council approved the creation of the new position that will cost the city $92,899 at Monday’s meeting, not all council members agreed.
Steve Rice was among two board members who voted against approving the new position. Rice said the role of the new work is essentially what staff at the Mitchell-area Chamber of Commerce are already doing.
Rice also wondered if the money needed to fund the new position would pay off. Joining Rice in voting against the new job was councilman John Doescher, who said he was not in favor of adding jobs to the city.
“We sat here and talked about the quality of our third party sales tax and hotel occupancy when we didn’t have that position in place. We have a chamber, convention and visitor bureau and development company that can do this. There’s been nothing but good said about how it’s worked in the 10 years I’ve been on the board,” Rice said. “Now we will create new work that will last forever.”
In response to Rice’s opposition, Mayor Bob Everson indicated that the particular Mitchell Chamber of Commerce job that bears similarities to the newly created position in the city has seen high turnover in recent years.
“In the four years I’ve been in the job, we’ll be the fifth person to try to handle this job,” Everson said. “We need some continuity to get things done.”
While the new position replicates what Chamber of Commerce staff have been doing, Tiffany Batsdorf, director of the Chamber of Commerce and Bureau of Conventions and Visitors, said the organization’s goal of hosting events at Mitchell will remain the same.
“We will continue to work to hold more events at public and private facilities in the community and will work with the Sports and Events Authority Board of Directors,” Batsdorf said.
Work with hotel BID tax, sports and events council
As the city seeks to develop a new Hotel Business Improvement District (BID) tax with local hotel owners, Everson said the employee who takes on the position will be instrumental in the process.
The existing $1.50 hotel BID tax generates approximately $240,000 each year and is used primarily to improve the city’s sports and event facilities. Since its inception in 2013, the city’s BID tax has helped repay the $8 million indoor aquatic center and second ice rink at the Mitchell Activity Center.
As the 2023 hotel tax expiration date nears, city leaders focused on working with hotel owners to implement a new $2 BID tax and a council that would oversee the money. If a new BID hotel tax is implemented, Ellwein said a role for the new employee would serve as a point of contact between the BID board and the city.
The BID tax also funds Mitchell’s Sports and Events Authority Board of Directors, which is made up of residents who work to organize large-scale sporting events in the city such as the Hoop City Classic and swimming competitions. Under the new job, the employee would work alongside the board of the Sports and Events Authority, which Everson said recently moved its meetings to City Hall.
“We need to get more continuity and stability with the sports and events council. When there is no one in a position to work with them, we could lose some great events that ultimately help our local economy,” Everson said.
The hotel’s BID tax provides approximately $80,000 to the sports and events council. Everson said the board was initially looking to pay someone to attract larger-scale events. Instead, the council has worked alongside Chamber of Commerce employees for the past decade.
As one of the city officials who played a key role in implementing the BID tax, Councilman Jeff Smith said he was confident the new position would pay off.
“I think that person should pay for themselves if we hire the right person,” Smith said.