Chamber, MCTA almost buddy up

Other action

At Tuesday's Craig Chamber of Commerce board meeting:

• Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie announced board president Bryce Jacobson, board vice president Gail Severson and board members Joe Bird and Debra Teeter were re-elected to the Chamber board. All were incumbents, and there were no new board members elected. Currie said there was about a 33 percent response rate among members for the election.

• The board elected Lisa Balstad as 2009 board president, Debra Teeter as 2009 vice president and Missy Bonaker was re-elected to the treasurer office.

• Board member Joe Bird said he was bothered that 17 member businesses left the Chamber this year, despite the fact 35 new ones joined up. Currie said it was a mix of businesses that closed, couldn't afford to pay dues because of decreased revenue and those that had such good business they didn't see a point in using the Chamber for advertising and/or services.

Currie added the Chamber is more than what it does for business, it is also a service organization for the community, but some business owners didn't want to continue their investment.

Bird said the Chamber needs to find a way to keep members, not continue to accept that some businesses will leave the organization.

The Craig Chamber of Commerce board will explore options to help the Moffat County Tourism Association hire an executive director.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Currie said the move will prompt the organizations to work together more after a recent history of sour feelings on both sides. The two groups can accomplish more by working together.

County officials have been reluctant to allow the MCTA board to hire a staff person through the county's payroll system.

Prior to Tuesday, Moffat County commissioners have said hiring an extra government employee comes with many strings attached. With the economy taking a negative turn, they are reluctant to bring on a new director-level employee.

MCTA board president Tammie Thompson-Booker said at Tuesday's Chamber board meeting that she is unsure about the commissioners' reasoning, as an MCTA staff person would be part-time and would not be provided benefits beyond salary.

She and other MCTA board members plan to meet with the commissioners in the coming weeks to discuss the issue.

Should the county decide now is not the right time to hire a new staff person through the government's payroll, the Chamber may provide that service for MCTA.

It is important for MCTA to have someone with dedicated time to complete projects, Thompson-Booker said.

"We all work full-time," she said of herself and fellow board members. "We need someone to get done all the things we have to do. There is a lot."

Chamber board members voted to explore the idea, with Craig Mayor Don Jones casting the lone dissenting vote.

"The county should do it," the mayor said. "It's a county tax (that pays for the MCTA budget) and it should be a county employee. I think the Chamber has enough to do."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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