Chamber Withdraws Contract Proposal With Town

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The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce announced at last night's council meeting that it would withdraw its proposed contract for services with the Town of Payson.

An agenda item to be discussed by council regarding the contract could have given the chamber up to $76,000 during the current fiscal year.

However, councilor Mike Vogel made a motion requesting that the item be pulled from the agenda. It passed by a 4-3 vote by the council. Mayor Bob Edwards, vice-Mayor Tim Fruth and councilor Ed Blair voted against removing the item from the agenda.

Vogel said that he was "asked by the public (to pull the item)."

Harvey Pelovsky, a member of the chamber's board of directors, read a statement regarding the withdrawal, "accepting a contract with the Town of Payson under the current conditions would not be in the best interest of the chamber and its members.

"Therefore, the board of directors (of the chamber) is withdrawing the chamber's proposed contract for services with the Town of Payson," Pelovsky continued.

Regardless of the council's decision to pull the item, Edwards spoke on the issue as to why he had reservations about going into another contract with the chamber.

"(Last) October we asked that with the money we were giving, that we get a list of deliverables. We also asked to get a copy of the budget, which I never received," he said.

Edwards said that he looked into corporate filings dealing with the chamber's financial situation and that the chamber had "an operating loss last year of $63,000."

Edwards also said that the chamber's assets in the last two years have dropped by $47,000.

"That's not a company I would invest in," he said. "If (the chamber has) the same loss this year, (it's) bankrupt."

In a statement from the chamber provided to the Roundup, Diane Enos, chair of the chamber's board of directors, said, "The chamber is a member-driven organization that must serve the needs of its members and the additional time taken from its core purpose to serve this contract is not cost-effective."

The chamber's executive director, Tina Bruess said, "We will continue to operate our state-designated visitor center, as well as continue in our promotion of Rim Country. At the request of our membership, through a recent survey, we will now be more involved in issues that affect the business community."

The decision was not based on Edwards' remarks, she said. The chamber will respond to those in the future.

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