Mayor Disagrees With Chamber's Position

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Generally I refrain from answering editorials.

It is unfortunate that the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors saw my remarks as disparaging and responded with a guest editorial in the Roundup. I simply intended my remarks as a reality check.

Regarding the implication that the numbers I quoted were wrong. They were taken directly from the numbers the chamber turned in to the state in their required corporation reports.

As to working with a cooperative spirit, we had asked for some accounting of how the money was being spent and for specific deliverables, to date they have not responded to our requests.

Now, to their specific comments ...

Money was not received from the town in 2006 ... actually they received half of the normal allotment, or $38,400.

My comments did not paint a true picture ... I just used the figures they turned into the state.

Regarding my silence about the rodeo receiving front-page coverage in the Arizona Tourist News, I do commend them for this excellent coverage. However, many volunteers have done an outstanding job and have dedicated many hours to the continued success of the rodeo, but the executive management has not matched the volunteer effort.

The board claims the chamber is financially sound and implied I should have presented the 2007 numbers. Since we don't have access to their current books and since our request for budget numbers has not been honored, I have no way of knowing how well they are doing this year and truly hope their financial picture has improved.

Regarding their financial health at the end of 2006 ... if we add in the Town's second-half payment, their current assets would have been $89,910 vs. a 2005 balance of $99,503, a decline of 11 percent. They had a net loss of $25,351 vs. a 2005 profit of $22,199, which is a loss of ground of $47,550. Membership dues declined from $76,800 in 2005 to $59,824, a 22 percent loss. This does not demonstrate a financially viable organization.

Now to the contract with the town ... the money Payson allocates to the chamber was supposed to be for town promotion; but, looking at their 2005 and 2006 reports, it clearly appears the town's allocation is being used for operation. While I am a strong supporter of chambers, I am also, as mayor, bound to make sure the citizens' tax dollars are used carefully and for proper purposes. Funding the operation of the Chamber of Commerce is not a proper use.

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