Fate of Fellsmere marketing video in commissioners’ hands

FELLSMERE — Fellsmere city leaders are hoping to get matching dollars from the county’s Tourist Development Council they can use to put together a promotional video to market their city. Whether the city would get the requested $5,000 is up to the county’s budget.

“It’s looking pretty good,” said Beth Mitchell, executive director of the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, of the county approving the funds. Mitchell made the pitch for the money to the Tourist Development Council Wednesday. The council approved the request.

In the 11 years Mitchell has been with the Chamber, she said she has never seen the Board of County Commissioners deny the TDC’s budget request. Members of the board have asked several questions, but have ultimately approved the budget.

“You never know,” Mitchell said, especially given the state of the county’s current budget outlook.

The Tourist Development Council’s funds come from bed taxes – generated when people stay at hotels and motels or rent certain properties in the county. Those dollars must be used on tourism related endeavors, which would include Fellsmere’s marketing video.

Fellsmere city leaders discussed the video at a recent meeting and approved allocating $5,000 to the production of the video. With the $5,000 from the TDC, Mitchell expects to be able to produce a video similar to what the City of Sebastian has.

“Our numbers, there’s no wiggle room,” Mitchell said to develop the film. “There’s no fat.”

The $10,000 would go to production and filming, a scriptwriter, research and development, and distribution and reproduction.

Fellsmere City Councilwoman Sara Savage asked during the recent meeting with Mitchell what would happen if the TDC did not approve the funds.

At the time, Mitchell said she did not know what would happen. And now that the fate of the funding is in the commissioners’ hands during the budget process, Mitchell said she still does not know what would happen if the funding fell through.

One possibility would be for the city itself to fund the remaining $5,000 for the project. Another could be to spread out the timeline to ask again the following year for the funds.

Despite the uncertainty, Mitchell said the city and Chamber could move forward with the work.

“I think it would be tremendous,” Fellsmere City Councilman Joel Tyson said of having a marketing video.

“We really need to put ourselves out there,” Fellsmere City Manager Jason Nunemaker said, adding that it is his hope the Fellsmere Inn would be open and ready for guests by the time the video is finished at the end of the year.

The plan is to include footage from events and festivals in and around the city, along with the natural resources and assets visitors can enjoy. Some footage has already been shot in advance of funding the video, including the Frog Leg Festival and Fellsmere Day.

Mitchell said she plans to host public meetings in Fellsmere to collect input from residents, business owners and other stakeholders and incorporate that information into the video.

Once produced, the city would be able to post the video to its Web site, www.CityOfFellsmere.org, and to any other Web site.

Mayor Susan Adams suggested the city put the video on flash drives that could be included with other marketing materials for the city.

“I think this will be a great, great project,” Adams said.

By the Numbers:

$5,000  –  Develop, professionally design, film, etc.

$2,000  –  Scriptwriter

$2,000  –  Focus groups, research and development, production, Chamber staff time

$1,000  –  Distribution, upload to Web sites, reproduction to flash drives, etc.

Total cost: $10,000

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