Chamber Slight, County Endorsement Angers Businessman

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The Chamber of Commerce is in some hot water regarding its proclamation in support of the justice facilities on Main Street.

General Manager Buck Rogers of Chapman Auto Center, a longstanding member of the Chamber and one of the town's largest businesses, said that he was not asked for his opinion on the matter.

"My question is what percentage of membership did they poll to make this decision," he said. "I don't like them speaking for me."

The Chamber released a statement in the Sept. 7 Roundup, endorsing the justice facilities and the General Obligation Bond and half-cent sales tax means of paying for them. In the ad, the Chamber said it reached that decision after polling its membership.

Tina Bruess, executive director of the Chamber, said that every business on the Chamber's roster was contacted via e-mail or phone call between Aug. 28 and Sept. 5.

"Chapman was contacted," she said. "When the staff person called, they asked to speak to Buck Rogers."

Bruess said messages to businesses included information about the poll.

"My staff let people know that the Chamber was conducting a poll and needed their input," she said.

Bruess said some businesses did not return phone calls and thus were not included in the polling.

"All 483 businesses were contacted," she said.

The Chamber's decision to support the facilities was based on a majority vote of the businesses polled, Bruess said.

"It was 60-40," she said, referring to businesses in favor of the bonds and sales tax increase.

Asked if the perceived slight would affect his relationship with the Chamber, Rogers said, "it could."

Rogers said he is opposed to the facilities and payment scenario.

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