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Thiel to resign after amendment proposed

Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Terri Thiel has announced she is resigning since Dickinson City commissioners are proposing an ordinance amendment which will impact the CVB's funding.

"I have a philosophical difference in organizational management between myself and several or all of the City Commission," Thiel said.

City officials accepted her resignation Sept. 1 and she will be done on Sept. 30. Thiel has held the position for 14 years.

Mayor Dennis Johnson said the proposed amendment is a good move, although he does not want to see Thiel go.

"What the ordinance would do is eliminate the requirement that the full occupancy tax be given to the CVB," Johnson said. "Current ordinance requires whatever is collected, less a small administrative fee, would be turned over to the CVB."

He added existing city ordinance requires 10 percent of the hospitality tax or $100,000, whichever is less, to go to the CVB.

"And what the proposed ordinances would do is essentially take us back to the way it used to be, prior to June of 1997, where those monies would stay with the city and through the normal budgeting process would be allocated to the CVB and any others that may qualify for them," Johnson said.

The amendment would reduce the amount of money coming into the CVB from the city, he and Thiel said.

"What it would be is that the budget would be reduced by $100,000, so we've been informed that they would like to reduce the marketing and promotions budget, that's where they would like to see that cut," Thiel said. "I don't know how the rest of it's going to be distributed amongst the entire budget."

The amendment would replace existing funding with a five-year contract, she said.

"I don't believe they're spending all the money that's coming to them right now and personally, I don't believe they should," Johnson said. "I think we should be reducing the amount of money that we're spending on marketing in this environment because so many of our (hotel) rooms really are being consumed by the energy industry and I think we'd be better off saving those dollars for another time when maybe the energy industry won't be such a big player in the hospitality market."

Thiel said many local businesses petitioned the City Commission to collect a visitor tax many years ago for promotion and capital construction to bring visitors to Dickinson.

"Government has a legal responsibility with all taxes that it collects and disburses to ensure that organizations are not fraudulent with the funds that (are) designated for a specific purpose," she said. "It does not have the passion nor does it have the expertise in visitor marketing that the Convention and Visitors Bureau possesses."

Johnson said changes can still be made to the proposed amendment and he expects the first reading of it to occur "relatively soon."

Thiel said will miss the CVB, its board and the responsibilities of her position.

"I've had a very good board, a very good staff and very good community support," Thiel said. "I think the board has done a wonderful job. They've been responsible."

Johnson said Thiel will be missed.

"She is a talented CVB director and I for one, I hate to see her go," he said.

Thiel is unsure what she will do when she leaves the CVB.

"Right now I'm going to reorganize and see what my next adventure is going to be," she said.