Martin County Convention and Visitor's Bureau is closing, director speaking out

STUART, Fla. - The Martin County Convention and Visitors Bureau was developing an additional plan to help struggling fishing charters and hotels because of the toxic water situation.

But that plan won't be unveiled because the Martin County Commission voted to stop their funding.

The office will close on September 30.

"During a crises, of course this is a concern…it is always hard when people are losing their jobs and it is also hard because it has been such a successful organization," director Rozeta Mahboubi said.

Mahboubi says she is staying positive and, while she doesn't necessarily agree with the commission's decision, she does respect it.

"It is something that is going to have an impact," Mahboubi said.

Four people will lose their jobs.

But the staff is less concerned about their own jobs, and more concerned about what this means for Martin County.

"I'm disheveled and lost. Very disappointed the county is making this change," CVB Marketing and Communications Manager Mary Palczer said.

The Martin County CVB started seven years ago.

County Commissioner Sarah Heard said Friday that she doesn't believe the CVB has been visible enough at toxic water rallies.

"I don't think they are doing enough," Heard said.

But according to the CVB's numbers, they have exceeded the county's expectations each year, raising revenue from the bed tax to more than one million dollars.

"To have that kind of an increase for Stuart and Martin County while they were coming out of a hurricane and a recession is phenomenal," Mahboubi said.

Staff members say they are looking for other jobs. They will spend this week tying up loose ends, fulfilling obligations, and packing up the office.

The county is in the process of developing a new tourism marketing plan. They say they may need to hire a PR person.

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