Chamber Of Commerce Responds To Mayor Edwards

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After the July 31 Roundup article, "Mayor probes chamber accountability," it became obvious to the chamber board that the mayor was questioning the value received by the town under the "Contract for Services" with the chamber. Subsequently, the chamber board of directors voted to request removal of the "Contract for Services" from the town council agenda, that a meeting might be held with the town to air any differences that might exist between the town and the chamber.

At last Thursday's town council meeting, at the request of the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the council voted for removal of the item from the agenda. Regardless of this vote, during the mayor's comments section, Mayor Edwards chose to make disparaging statements about the economic vitality of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the organization in general. In a cooperative environment, where the town and chamber should work together for the betterment of the community, it would have made sense to check the facts by talking with the chamber board of directors, prior to making these statements.

So, to paraphrase a well-known radio personality, "Now, for the rest of the story ..."

In July of each year, the town council has the option of approving a "Contract for Services" between the chamber and the town, if the chamber chooses to submit such a contract for consideration.

Disbursements to the chamber usually start in the same month. For fiscal year 2006-2007, disbursements under the contract did not start until February of 2007. As a result, revenue which should have been realized in 2006, was not realized until February of 2007, making the year-end 2006 balance sheet of the chamber appear worse than what might have been expected. It must be noted, this delay in contract payments was in no way the fault of the town. The chamber continued to perform to the terms of the Contract for Services during that time.

In a win-win relationship, last Thursday's statements would not have been made because they cast dispersion on, rather than painted a true picture of, an organization that fights tooth and nail to publicize Payson to the rest of the world. An example of that effort was presented to the town council that same night. The chamber was able to obtain front page coverage and all of page three for the 123rd Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo in Arizona Tourist News, which is seen by more than 150,000 readers. There was no comment from the council about this achievement. Payson and Rim Country were also publicized in a recent edition of Arizona Highways, again due to the chamber's efforts. And again there was silence.

The chamber is financially sound. On Dec. 31, 2006 current assets were $51,510 and current liabilities were $24,694. At the end of the first quarter (March 31) 2007, current assets were $146,163 and current liabilities were $76,707. And at the end of the second quarter (June 31) 2007, current assets were $140,268 and current liabilities were $5,969. Now that's a chamber we would invest in!

The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, following its primary charter, will continue to be supportive of the town in all issues, which create a better business environment for our members. We will continue to strongly publicize Payson and Rim Country, work diligently to increase tourism and continue to operate our Arizona Office of Tourism accredited Visitors Center, the fifth-busiest in the state, with more than 20,000 visitors a year.

Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: Diane Enos, Paul Bates, Harvey Pelovsky, Lou Adams, Matt Ford, Lisa Taylor, Stephanie Creasy, Louise Lopez, R. Chris Wolf, Kevin Alderson, John Naughton

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