Tucson leaders to address visitor's bureau audit

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The Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitor's Bureau is responsible for marketing the city and attracting visitors and their money to Tucson. They do that in part with millions of taxpayer dollars. There's concern that money is not being used wisely.

Just when we thought we were done with controversial audits, another one may be on the way.

The county's already agreed to conduct an audit on the visitor's bureau and now depending on what happens Tuesday, the city may jump on board too.

There's concern taxpayer dollars aren't being used to market the city, but rather to pay extremely high salaries of bureau employees.

Tuesday, city council will push to get answers about where there $2.8 million investment in the MTCVB is going.

"When we give them $2.8 million and their own tax statements say that $3.2 million is going to salaries and benefits. I guess I'm wondering if their marketing the city or milking the city," said Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Pima County already thinks it might be getting milked. County supervisors agreed to audit the visitor's bureau to see where your taxpayer dollars are going.  And Councilman Steve Kozachik shares those concerns.

"Let's join together with them, share the costs, get together, write the scope jointly of the audit and share the results," said Kozachik.

But President Jonathan Walker stands by his agency and the work it's doing.

"We have some very dedicated talented people whose mission and passion it is is to market this destination and they're very good at it," said Walker.

A look at MTCVB's 2008 tax return shows about $3 million are being spent on salaries and benefits. A closer look shows over $400,000 of that is split between two men.  One of those men is Walker.

"Let's take a look at what's being done and evaluate it," said Kozachik.  "And we're glad to work with them on that process."

Tuesday he'll go before council to address those concerns.  "We'll have a set of questions and we'll see what their answers will be," said Kozachik.

It took the county three tries to get Walker to answer questions before the Board of Supervisors.   He, however, is scheduled to attend Tuesday's meeting and this is the city's first request.