Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brevard County To Pay For Tourism Website Twice

VIERA, Florida -- Brevard County will have to pay for its tourism marketing website twice following a County Commission vote yesterday approving a request by the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to terminate its website development contract with FLORIDA TODAY Communications so it could go with a second website developer known as "Simple View" based out of Tucson, Arizona.

According to documents filed with the County, the TDC has already paid $59,500 to FLORIDA TODAY to develop its website,, in late 2012 plus an additional $1,500 per month for website hosting and maintenance.  The TDC's contract documents show that the actual website development was handled by "Gannett Local" which was a division of FLORIDA TODAY's parent company, Gannett.  

"We went into the contract, and we realized that, by through mutual agreement, that we were not going to be able to fulfill that contract with the technology that their portion of the company up in Nashville was providing," said Director of Tourism Development Rob Varley. 

"Simple View actually was the company that the Marketing Committee rated number one, and the TDC changed that around," Varley said.

The money spent on the first website developer, plus the costs for a second developer to re-design the website, will cost taxpayers over a quarter-of-a-million dollars, according to documents filed with the County.

Although the TDC will have to pay for the website development twice, Varley noted that FLORIDA TODAY did provide the TDC with a "rich collection of photographs" and "some video."

FLORIDA TODAY often reports on news stories of concern to the TDC, but did not disclose its financial interest in the tourism tax or other related issues to its readers.  The local newspaper and its related companies received over $260,000 in Brevard County taxpayer money for various services in fiscal year 2012/2013.


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  1. Replies
    1. The Obamacare website cost the taxpayers $300M and still does not work properly.

  2. All so that the TDC can run commercials in Florida. Just a boondoggle. If you want tourists then you have to advertise out of state as well on local tv. Take for example the "Visit the Florida Keys and Key West" commercials one sees everywhere. So the Keys get tourists from all over and Brevard gets a bunch of O-town yahoos who drive over and the drive back at the end of the day.

  3. Attention Brevard county, I am a web developer with 10 years of experience. I will gladly develop your website AND provide regular updates and back end maintenance for the $59,000 annual salary. You save the $500 and the $1200 a month as long as I am employed by you. Furthermore, since I see no mention of an SEO contract, I will gladly add that to the list of job responsibilities.

    I will provide a much better ROI (than the apparent cronyism on display here) and provide you with the flexibility to have a dynamic, ever evolving website. As an added bonus, as a county employee I will be accountable for my job performance, unlike Florida Today. (really Brevard, no penalties in the contract if they do not deliver? WTF, this is contracts 101)

    I'll eagerly await the job posting.

  4. Unbelievable, I built my web site for $500 and have better SEO than their website. It is not the amount of money you spend that makes a web site great. The TDC, who I have tried to work with, ONLY supports wealthy hotel owners and offers no support to local business entrepreneurs. Who ever was in charge of this has absolutely no idea how to manage web site marketing and should be fired for wasting tax money!

  5. Wow, nice comments. I could also buy a car for $500....but I wouldn't.
    Might need some more content...but doesn't look too bad.

  6. In the past year Florida Today also lost a $500,000 annual contact with BCC/EFSU to produce a newscast for its public TV station.

    1. Most of that was probably public education money supported by taxpayers too.

  7. Some group needs to initiate a recall vote for some of our incompetent county commissioners.

    And they wonder why people hate paying taxes!!!!

  8. Why wasn't this contract offered locally before being sourced out of state?

  9. I pay 250 a year for my website .