In a work session on Tuesday night, the Cortez City Council received a presentation from the Cortez Retail Enhancement Association, whose mission is to promote Cortez and its businesses within a 100-mile radius to help increase sales tax revenues.
CREA executive director Gayel Alexander outlined the Cortez Cash Program and its success.
Cortez Cash is a citywide gift certificate program that works just like cash. Cortez Cash can be purchased at the CREA office or through its online order form. Cortez Cash can be spent on almost anything — merchandise, services, food or gas.
She said it is a great incentive to get people to shop locally and help the community, and said an added bonus is that CREA is able to track where this money is being spent.
Cortez Cash may be purchased by individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations for a variety of uses.
She told council members her main goal was to convince residents to shop locally whenever possible, and last year $131,000 in this cash was sold. That told her the $200,000 goal for future years is not out of range.
She said 173 out of the 280 businesses in Cortez that pay sales tax will accept Cortez Cash as payment.
She said the CREA undergoes an audit every three years, which was a small concern to council member Bob Archibeque who said $131,000 is a lot of money to be audited just once every three years.
Alexander said that is what her board decided and mentioned the CREA passed its 2009 audit with flying colors.
City Finance Director Kathi Moss said she would like to receive the audit for transparency purposes and was assured she would receive them.
Special event coordinator Ami Farr wanted to keep in touch with CREA and asked if she could be notified of its meetings as well as being given its newsletters along with any other pertinent information, and Alexander told her this could be done.
The council also adopted a resolution that amends the City of Cortez’s employee handbook regarding the use of social media.
In a memorandum to the council from City Manager Shane Hale, he stated the city staff—specifically the parks and recreation department, police department, animal shelter, the library and special events—have identified the specific need to utilize social media to interact with the public.
Hale mentioned Facebook specifically as one social media site.
He said while a few other cities had problems because employees had abused the sites, oversight and record retention would eliminate this concern.
Archibeque mentioned he had heard that 60 percent of the people in the world use Facebook, so there is a need.