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Amgen not a magic bullet

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Auburn Mayor Dr. Bill Kirby has twice been quoted in this newspaper saying Amgen “will generate between $1 million and $3 million in revenue for the city of Auburn.” I’m just wondering what research Dr. Kirby consulted to calculate this highly variable number, which is more accurately “economic impact” than revenue for the city. Will public relations benefits accrue to Auburn from Amgen? No question, though likely diminished because of the dampening impact of Lance Armstrong pulling out as a competitor. Unfortunately, PR doesn’t pay the bills, and when Amgen first rolled through Auburn on a Sunday last May, many Old Town businesses actually reported a dramatic drop in revenues for the day, even though the historic district pumped in $5K to support the event. Elected officials ignored this outcome in their enthusiastic follow-up report. In guesstimating economic impact resulting from Amgen, Dr. Kirby needs to net out the monies that would normally be spent over the event’s timeframe, as well as the contributions raised to fund the event (I’ve heard $100,000) as well as the monumental city staff and volunteer time required to pull this off. This would yield a more accurate financial portrayal. My hope is the event will be wildly successful, catapulting Auburn in front of a worldwide audience, and finally bringing credence to our long-claimed title of “Endurance Capital of the World.” In reality, though, neither an Amgen Tuesday morning nor the proposed LED billboard are economic-development magic bullets for Auburn. Gary Moffat, Old Town Auburn