Funding was included in Mount Airy’s 2016-2017 budget to hire a person to market the city — which hasn’t occurred with the fiscal year now nearly half over. But the position could be filled soon.
A marketing director position was one of only two full-time jobs added to the municipal payroll for 2016-2017, with the other an IT (information technology) analyst.
The new marketing slot was included under a belief among city leaders that someone is needed to handle public relations/communications responsibilities for the local government.
While the hiring process for it has yet to begin, some movement is expected soon, according to City Manager Barbara Jones.
“I haven’t advertised this position yet, but plan on doing that as soon as time allows,” Jones added Thursday.
The city manager said she will look in-house at first for applicants.
“I will advertise internally, probably within the next few weeks, then externally if there are no qualified or interested internal candidates.”
When plans were announced for the new marketing director job earlier this year, Jones said the person filling the post will be responsible for dealing with the media, preparing marketing brochures and coordinating city events.
The multi-faceted position also will include “working hard” to obtain grants citywide, Jones has said. The marketing director additionally is to be responsible for research and other tasks, including working with the city manager to disseminate information to citizens to keep them better informed.
He or she will be responsible for promoting Mount Airy through public information, social media and different marketing venues, based on a job description provided by Jones.
Efforts to market Mount Airy’s surplus water supply, an oft-stated goal of city officials in recent years with the closing of major water users such as textile companies, will be another function of the new job.
The necessity of having someone actively marketing Mount Airy to the outside world in a variety of ways was emphasized during a budget work session held last month by the mayor, Board of Commissioners, city manager and other personnel.
That issue surfaced during discussions among municipal officials concerning ways to make the city more financially viable in the face of increasing budget pressures, including generating more revenue.
In particular, Commissioner Jon Cawley cited a need for Mount Airy to better market itself as a city.
He said one example of this involved plans announced by evangelical leader the Rev. Franklin Graham to expand his operations to Wilkes County.
Cawley wondered whether Mount Airy might have been considered for the expansion instead if Graham was made aware of what this city has to offer.
He also suggested during the recent budget workshop that city council meetings be recorded for YouTube videos on the Internet as another way of reaching outsiders who might then become interested in Mount Airy for business or other reasons.
“I do think we can do a better job using social media,” the city manager said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.