The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners discussed ending its $40,000 per year annual support of the organization May 17 at its work session at the Catoosa Courthouse.
Chairman Bill Clark suggested ending the support and applying the funds toward the county’s need for either an urban planner or urban planning study.
“It is all a matter of doing the best we can with the money that we’ve got,” he said. “The question is could the county get more good out of an urban planner than giving the Chamber $40,000 in cash.”
Commissioner Jim Emberson said he wanted time to consider the matter before holding a vote.
“I don’t know what they use it (the money) for,” he said.” They may be totally dependent upon it. We should delay the decision rather than pull the rug out from under them.”
Commissioner Ron Gracy agreed.
Commissioner Bobby Winters suggested later in the meeting that the county should use those funds towards helping the county replace worn out equipment such as dump trucks.
Commissioner Ken Marks said that the Chamber helps to bring in business.
“We should at least go to the Chamber and give them a chance,” he said.
County finance administrator Carl Henson said that according to the Chamber budget, the organization splits the funds between its tourism efforts and administrative costs.
County attorney Clifton ‘Skip” Patty said the county must make its decision prior to the end of the month so that the Chamber may be notified 60 days in advance, per an agreement in a contract dated August 6.
Tammy Cole, president of the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, said by telephone May 18, that the process the Chamber and county is now experiencing is simply part of the annual contractual review process.
“We do value the county’s support of the Chamber of Commerce and we realize the county is working within a tight budget,” she said.
“Our Chamber leadership welcomes the opportunity to share with commissioners and the public the wide range of services provided by the Chamber to increase business opportunities and interest in the community that ultimately creates new jobs, new businesses and enhances the county’s overall economic development efforts,” she said. “The Chamber also showcases our growing community as a destination for tourism to potential visitors from around the country.”
Commissioners will hold a special called meeting May 31 at 5 p.m. to discuss the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce funding