Town hires new PR firm to market local tourism

Contract negotiations are underway with a company now tasked with handling Pahrump’s public relations needs.

Board members recently awarded a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) to BRAINtrust Marketing and Communications out of Las Vegas.

The company was one of eight firms that responded to the RFQ.

Vice Chair Bill Dolan said the town seems to have “outgrown” the previous company, RKPR Inc., which marketed Pahrump tourism for several years.

“We started off with a beginner group and now we have more needs that this group can’t seem to offer. It’s kind of like upgrading an old car, so to speak,” he said.

Pahrump Tourism Director Arlette Ledbetter said BRAINtrust is a full-service agency that has overseen countless national, regional, and local brand marketing and public relations campaigns, mainly in the hospitality, entertainment, and consumer attractions industry.

She also noted that the action would not affect the town’s budget.

“This is completely in line with fiscal year 2014’s budget allotment. When I saw the fiscal impact of this is $72,000, that money is allotted,” she said.

According the general provisions in the RFQ, responsibilities of the agency would include several elements including understanding the product, becoming familiar with the marketing schedule, as well as planning and creating advertising campaigns.

The agency will regularly meet with town officials to become thoroughly acquainted with the mission, goals, products and target audiences.

Ledbetter said the company’s knowledge of Pahrump will be critical in planning and creating an effective advertising campaign.

Board members eventually voted 5-0 to approve the action.

Additionally, the board approved the renovation and upgrade of the basketball courts at Petrack Park.

Crews will soon install a new concrete court over the existing surface and extend the facility for an amount not to exceed $25,000.

Originally the estimate was $20,000.

Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the present surface is a potential hazard for players who regularly use the court.

“If you have been out there, the courts are kind of uneven and very dangerous for play and we got to resurface them. We are still going to get three quotes to be fair and I wasn’t sure if they would be slightly over the $20,000 or if they would be $22,000 or whatever. I put in not to exceed $25,000. When it comes to the safety of our youth, to me this is a no-brainer. I would never want the kids to play on anything that is dangerous,” she said.

Vice Chair Bill Dolan added to Holecheck’s concern about safety by suggesting the town close down the courts to avoid any potential liabilities.

“The only comment I have now is that we just put it on the record that, that basketball court is unsafe. I think it needs to be shut off so that it’s not useable so that we don’t have a lawsuit because we have now admitted that we have an unsafe basketball court. It needs to be roped off and somehow made unusable so the town is not liable,” he said.

Following further discussion Holecheck told the board that she would confer with the town’s legal counsel for direction on how to properly close down the court until the project is completed.

Board members voted to approve the item.

In other business, the board also considered implementing a new policy that directs staff to manage all media purchases and advertisements on behalf of the town.

Board member Bob Adams authored the item as a way to better control taxpayer money.

That item was also passed by the board as was appointing local resident Butch Harper as Pahrump’s Goodwill Ambassador.

Harper will officially be recognized by officials during an upcoming town board meeting.

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