Politics & Government

DuPont leaders want to push ‘home of golf’ image

City of DuPont leaders want to ride the tourism wave of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in nearby University Place by letting potential tourists know DuPont is “the home of golf in the Pacific Northwest.”

That’s the hope of Mayor Michael Grayum and the city’s tourism board, who want to raise awareness in 2014 about the golf opportunities that surround the city on the south end of Pierce County.

“There are some people that just want to play championship golf and they’re eyeing the region for the Open,” Grayum said. “We want to position ourselves for that.”

Courting the golf tourism industry is a priority of Grayum’s proposed 2014 budget that will be before the council for discussion Tuesday. He suggests using the city’s lodging tax, which under state law must be used for tourism, to promote the city as a golf hub in the region.

The City Council will vote to adopt the $12.2 million budget in December.

The Home Course, owned and operated by the Washington State Golf Association and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association, is one of the city’s biggest economic assets, Grayum said. The course will host the final U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in July, and previously hosted the U.S. Men’s Amateur.

If the largely residential community of 9,000 people can get on the radar of golf enthusiasts who are looking to “stay and play,” that would pump up the city’s sales tax collection, Grayum said.

Appealing to golfers is just one element of Grayum’s proposed budget. Other directives include continuing to promote economic development by making the city appealing to new business. The city saw its portion of sales tax from construction and contracting increase by 208 percent, or $322,000, to about $477,000 over the same period in 2012, according to city finance records.

The city has 1,079 acres of undeveloped land and leaders hope more businesses will follow on the heels of Amazon, which is set to open a DuPont warehouse soon.

Unlike last year’s budget planning, this year’s process has been anticlimactic. To balance the 2013 budget, the City Council approved temporary cuts to staff salaries and implemented temporary wage freezes. Businesses also felt some pain from last year’s budget crunch — a business and occupation tax was approved, along with a square footage tax.

The city also authorized the collection of a $20 car tab renewal fee to help pay for road maintenance, and it instituted a rental house licensing fee.

The 2014 budget retains most of the 2013 adjustments. It also identifies one-time revenues to pay for one-time expenses instead of trying to cover ongoing expenses – a practice that hasn’t been sustainable for the city in the past.