East Bethel to have consultant review comp plan

by Eric Hagen
Staff Writer

East Bethel will be expanding its contract with a branding and marketing consultant it recently chose to include a review of the city’s comprehensive plan.

The East Bethel City Council Dec. 21 unanimously approved Ady Voltedge of Madison, Wis., as the branding and marketing consultant. The contract amount was $31,005 and Ady Voltedge would be tasked with developing a “brand positioning document” and a “positioning statement” that will focus on the key elements of East Bethel’s “brand.”

The council Jan. 4 approved the official contract on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Bill Boyer voting no, but there was a $17,240 addition to what was discussed at the last council meeting. The total contract the council approved Jan. 4 was $48,245.

The addition was an economic development plan review, which will consist of Ady Voltedge reviewing the city’s comprehensive plan with an emphasis on the transition from a rural area to an urban growth area along Highway 65, according to City Administrator Jack Davis.

Davis said there are some areas of the comprehensive plan that need to be tightened up. For example, Davis said Ady Voltedge would review land uses along the south end of the Highway 65 corridor where the sewer and water development is occurring first to ensure the city can make maximum use of the land.

Davis said the city needs to get as much sewer access charge and water access charge revenue as possible to pay for the system.

According to Davis, Ady Voltedge’s president and founder Janet Ady mentioned some additional options for the city during conference calls on Dec. 22 and 30. One option was the economic development plan review that the council approved. The other option that the council is holding off now is the target industry analysis, which would determine what type of businesses could come to East Bethel. This market study would have added $15,510.

Councilmember Heidi Moegerle sat in on the conference call with Ady and said she explained the importance very well.

“It really does make sense to have that outside view of our comp plan from a development standpoint,” Moegerle said.

The comprehensive plan is an important document because it represents the city to developers considering a move to East Bethel, she said.

Boyer said he voted against the contract because he did not think the branding and positioning statement is as important.

“Economic development is important, but branding is not,” Boyer said.

Boyer said he voted at the Dec. 20 meeting to choose Ady Voltedge as the contractor the city would work with because he has no problems with the firm itself.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

  • Fed up resident

    What are we–a herd of cows that need to be branded? We are people, not commodities. We do not need a brand East Bethel.

    It pains me to see the city throwing away money because they apparently don’t know who they are, who we are, what we are. It pains me to be considered some commodity that needs to be branded so it can be sold to the business community.

    I believe the sewer and water projects were ill advised. I believe we may well end up bankrupt or driven from our homes as our taxes are increased to pay for the boondoggle. But throwing good money after bad is not an answer here. Does anyone really think Fleet Farm or whomever will come rushing to East Bethel because the city purchases some catchy little slogan and flashy brochures from an ad agency?

    • What You See is What You Get

      This is what you get when you elect a lawyer (Moegerle) with nothing to do all day long, a failed businessman (Lawrence), and a person with no ability to comprehend the spoken word (DeRoche). Whatever Moegerle wants, she gets, with two additional toddling votes behind her.

      Mr. Mueller is putting hundreds of thousands into upgrading his theatre and marketing his property to the south. His knowledge and business sense is free marketing alone. He believes in this development area while the these three council members sit on their hands and hire consultants to do what they cannot, simply due to their incredible ignorance.

      Knock out the Mayor this fall and return an intelligent and thoughful majority to East Bethel.

    • Watching Closely

      “Branding” is a shorthand for “Taking active control of an organization’s image and reputation.” By allowing others to define East Bethel, its reputation as a place to work and live has been horrible.

      Adjectives such as “uncooperative”, “unfriendly”, and “uninformed” that were used to describe East Bethel were replaced by “stupid”, “ill-advised” and “foolish” when the 2010 Council signed onto the water/sewer project for $ 18 million when it only had 18 customers. The laughing at East Bethel was even louder when it was revealed that 2010 Council hadn’t tested the water before sign a contract for a $ 5.8 water treatment plant.

      The 2011 Council has made significant changes to the way the City treats businesses and residents. It is working WITH other agencies, instead of ignoring them or working in isolation. Those changes are known to the residents that read the minutes and watch the meeting broadcasts.

      The 2010 Council said “if you build it, they will come.” It said “once the developers see the dirt being moved for the sewer and water, the properties will be developed.”

      A year later? Still no development commitments.

      The cost to taxpayers of an image consultant for the city is a LOT less than taxpayers paying for the sewer-water project…or the City going bankrupt in 2016 when the bond payments are 1/3 of the City’s current budget.

      If the Council wants to take charge of mending its reputation – so that developers understand that East Bethel is a uniquely great place to live, work and play AND do business-that is no different than the techniques used by neighboring cities.

      The only difference is that is desperately needed in East Bethel to avoid a MASSIVE tax increase or bankruptcy.

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