Boro going Hollywood? Council OK’s $19K to be featured in documentary hosted by Terry Bradshaw

By on March 7, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

With a 7-1 vote, Ephrata Borough Council agreed Monday night to move forward with the creation of a promotional video featuring Ephrata.

"Today in America" is a documentary style film lasting between five and 10 minutes which will highlight why the borough believes Ephrata is such a great place to raise a family. It will focus on the town’s unique strengths and offerings to both businesses and individuals.

Adding star-power to the project was the announcement that football player turned actor and sports commentator, Terry Bradshaw, will host the segment.

Council members were shown two examples of the finished products already completed for Fayetteville, AK and a smaller town much more like Ephrata Borough located in Whiting, Arkansas.

"About three weeks ago we got a call from the producer for the show asking if the borough would be interested in participating," noted Borough Manager Bob Thompson. "During a later conference call with mayor [Ralph] Mowen and I, we were asked a number of questions about the community."

"Today in America" is designed to highlight local "gems" around the country by talking about the many things making that community great –great places to live, work and play.

"Specifically we were asked about the quality of life, what Ephrata has to offer and why people would want to move to Ephrata," added Mowen. "We had about a 40-minute discussion after which the interviewer said he would need to go back to his producers and share our information."

That lead to a follow up phone call the following Monday, which included council president Dale Hertzog. The group also provided some references of other communities which had participated so that local officials might get a better feel for what was being offered.

Not all skies have a silver lining, however. By agreeing to move forward, the borough would be committing to a one-time scheduling fee of $19,800. The production company would then provide the scripts for borough authorities to fully review and accept. Following this, the team would come to the community to conduct interviews and provide direction for the piece. Three iterations of the script would be provided, with the borough always retaining full editing rights.

Once the completed piece has been aired on several different cable outlets across the country, the piece becomes the property of Ephrata Borough to use as it sees fit. Such a piece would be seen on such cable channels as Fox, The Discovery Channel, even on CNN Headline News.

Council members discussed the possibility of linking to the piece on the borough’s website as well as using with other local groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, DEI, the Ephrata Economic Development Corp and others.

Asked if this project would focus solely on Ephrata Borough, Mayor Mowen reminded council members that the borough retains full editing rights, and explained that one selling point of the Ephrata community are the many things in surrounding areas: churches, colleges and commerce.

Council Member George DiIlio was the sole dissenting vote on the measure. He raised questions of committing $19,800 in a year when there had been tax increases.

"The examples are very sterling," said DiIlio. "Any time we can get our name out in such an impressive fashion we should do it. I just have some concerns because I’m not sure where we going with this. Are we going for a five-minute period of fame or gearing this to something very specific?"

DiIlio also questioned where the money would come from. Thompson said it would come from the unappropriated fund balance in the general fund.

"We had a balanced budget this year so revenues were greater than expenditures, plus we were conservative with projecting the earned income tax due to the change in how that is being collected," explained Thompson.

With council’s approval, the process is expected to take 10-12 weeks to complete. Council member Tom Reinhold said he hoped they could time the production to coincide with the Ephrata Fair, because that is certainly one of Ephrata’s main draws each year.

For more information on Ephrata Borough, visit ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More BORO page A16

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