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Monday, August 17, 2009

Councilman's Expense Cut Fails

A proposal was made at the last Council meeting by Finance Committee Chairman Lonnie Mixon-- to cancel the City's extra $35,000 yearly contribution to the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce for its "Blueprint for Tomorrow" program (on top of the City's $6000 annual dues). Mixon said the agreement--to give the Chamber $175,000 over 5 years-- was reached in 2006 back when the City "had a lot of money to spend"--but terms of the contract say it can be terminated "anytime." Mixon said the City's new Strategic Planning Committee had come up with "our own blueprint for tomorrow" --and the money would be better spent on its recommendations, instead (new computer system, vehicle replacement, utility refurbishments, etc.). Mixon: "We've imposed a hiring freeze, no overtime, cut travel and educational assistance for employees, and need to replenish our financial reserves. In good conscience, I cannot look my constituents in the eye and donate $35,000 to the Chamber of Commerce when we just imposed a 2% sales tax." Mixon's proposal died for the lack of a second. Darelyn Bender of the Chamber of Commerce then spoke of the "Blueprint's" purported benefits to the City; transportation study done ($75,000); possible bus "hubs" coming; also promoting park and rides; Technology Innovation Center study ($85,000); hired tourism director for Welcome Center (now open 7 days a week); attracting convention/conferences; et al. Councilman Ford is listed as a member in the Chamber's directory (Mike Ford Realty) as is Kingea's law firm. Mayor Kant is listed as an (ex-officio) member of its Board of Directors as well.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Mixon is right

jugheadjones said...

Why wouldn't anyone one else speak up? Scared to challenge the almighty Chamber?

mamamia said...

they were just charging everything to the city's credit cards back in 06

Leslie said...

The city has no business paying membership dues, much less subsidizing projects. The Chamber of Commerce should be just that -- a consortium of small businesses within a community -- not an extension of a government entity.