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Elmhurst Chamber's Request for 'Got It' Money Met With Questions from Aldermen

Development Committee will look at effectiveness of marketing strategy.

When the “Got It in Elmhurst” campaign was created two years ago, the economy was in free fall and city officials and businesses wanted to remind residents that dollars went further when spent locally.

Two years later, the city is seeing a rebound in sales tax revenues, and both the city and the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce and Industry want to keep it that way. But while City Council agreed Monday to continue its financial support of "Got It in Elmhurst," aldermen also are asking if the “Got It” campaign is having the hoped-for impact.

Last week, the Development, Planning and Zoning Committee approved spending $9,900 of a $25,000 fiscal year 2012-2013 budget for the Chamber to purchase both web and print ads in local media outlets. The full council gave first approval to that expense Monday night, along with a charge to the committee to examine the city's marketing efforts.

Some aldermen believe these questions should have been asked sooner. First Ward aldermen Paula Pezza and Diane Gutenkauf on Jan. 25 sent a letter to City Manager Jim Grabowski requesting some specific information:

  • How much more in sales will businesses have to generate in a year to pay for the new spending request?
  • How much increase (or decrease) was reported in sales since the campaign started two years ago?
  • How and where was the original $50,000 used to kick off the "Got It" campaign two years ago?
  • How have business owners' sales been impacted by the campaign?
  • What percentage of chamber members are Elmhurst businesses and, of those, what percent are tax-generating businesses?

While she said last month that she had gotten some of her questions answered, Pezza still is waiting for more information, including a survey of businesses, before she can support more funding. She voted against the expense Monday.

“I'd like to see some type of reporting of results,” she said.

Third Ward Alderman Michael Bram agreed.

“We need some type of data,” he said, before also voting against more money for the campaign.

First Ward Alderman Diane Gutenkauf said she was “appalled” that the Got It campaign seemed not to have any clearly defined outcomes.

“Without a goal, you can't possibly know if your money is being spent wisely,” she said. Gutenkauf was the third vote against funding the campaign for the rest of the fiscal year.

Other council members had similar questions, but did not want to stop funding the campaign.

“There's no doubt that we've built some brand equity,” 4th Ward Alderman Kevin York said.

York and 3rd Ward Alderman Dannee Polomsky asked the DPZ Committee to look at marketing efficiency and strategy. Their recommendation asks the committee to identify and inventory all resources allocated for economic development, community marketing and tourism, compare objectives for all promotional efforts, and identify shared responsibilities and objectives.

The committee also will seek assistance from Elmhurst College and College of DuPage business and marketing students in analyzing the data.

Acting Mayor and 5th Ward Alderman Scott Levin noted that the council approved the start of the campaign at a time when sales tax revenues were on a steep decline, and that back then aldermen did not ask for measurable outcomes. 

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journalism major February 08, 2013 at 11:45 PM
this would make a great case study for my class. my adjunct prof says that m chadra would have worded her statement like this if she worked at an old line newspaper: " i spoke to mr morley and he states that he did not order the robocall nor does he have any information about who ordered it" it would then continue " i will ask the same questions of the other two candidates", and then "if anyone has any information, please contact me - i will keep it confidential if you so request". what's also interesting is that m chadra throws insults at the very people she allows to exist: the anonymous ones; maybe stop sleaze has info but they don't want to divulge it. the investigative reporting world would not exist without anonymous figures. remember "deep throat", the former deputy director at the FBI; he was anonymous. without him, Nixon would have never been thrown out of office. so miss chadra, you can start with the Robo call phone number; it is 630-478-8585. now go do your job; make us students proud to enter your field.
MJ Rogers February 09, 2013 at 12:13 AM
This is simple people. In my opinion the reason the editor of this media will attempt to protect Ald. Morley is because of the money he is spending to advertise on Patch. Look at all the big blue ads the editor is trying to make sure to keep getting paid on. Same is true about Mulliner. Look at the Ads Mulliner has. The only one not spending on here is Gutenkauf so she will continue to be fair game in the eyes of Patch. This media outlet has no incentive to do hard journalism @ journalism major. Unlike other places, in my opinion this media outlet is about creating revenue streams. Ald. Morley has money to spend, and so long as this media outlet protects him, he will continue to spend. Ald. Morley does things this way. Always, always, always follow the money. If the editor of this media insults Ald. Morley he pulls his ads. Same with Mulliner. If the editor protects Ald. Morley but doesn't quote him so he has to deny the robocalls publicly, Ald. Morley continues to run his expensive ads. If this is the way the reports are done in Patch do not expect this is the media to check for fair and objective facts. Keep on protecting the ones that pay for the Ads.
fittnessfanatic February 09, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Well whoever did the robo call, and it came 2 times, did a really poor job. It was cheaply made embarrasing, and made no sense. I guess ya get what ya paid for. unprofessional or it is a scam, or the latest game in Elmhurst. Lets play 20 questions, see who made the crummy anoying robo call 2 months before the election. Hit a key point though, SHUT UP
Karen Chadra February 09, 2013 at 07:53 PM
This should clear up a few things. http://elmhurst.patch.com/articles/elmhurst-mayoral-consolidated-april-9-election-robocall-press-1-if-you-re-confused-by-this-call
Karen Chadra February 09, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Journalism Major, I would love to talk to you about different elements of new media, and how journalism ethics, the immediacy of the Internet and an open exchange of ideas can create unique challenges for reporters and editors. I'm sure your professor would agree that not every issue is black and white, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to every story. Ethics and truth first, always. And, for me anyway, it's never about money, as MJ Rogers suggests below. Call or email me sometime. I'd love to chat. Karenc@patch.com, 630-433-1233. And in case you didn't see it yet, here's the story: http://elmhurst.patch.com/articles/elmhurst-mayoral-consolidated-april-9-election-robocall-press-1-if-you-re-confused-by-this-call

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