By Carolyn Barbre
The Lindsay Chamber of Commerce was hard hit by the city's recent belt tightening.
In a determined effort to resurface every street in need of repair, the chamber's budget was cut and hours of operation were shortened.
At the June 22 Lindsay City Council meeting three new agreements were entered into between the city and the chamber. Finance Director Kenny Walker said the city will be giving the chamber $50,000 to promote and market the Sweet Brier Plaza & Downtown Business District. The chamber will receive $25,000 the first day of July 2004 and another $25,000 the first day of January 2005. Twelve percent of that may be used for administrative costs. They will be funded at the same rate for a second year, if needed, but they are expected to become self supporting at the end of the initial two-year funding period.
Mayor Ed Murray asked what would happen if the chamber didn't meet the requirements, or if they were incredibly successful and didn't need the second year of funding.
"If they fail, the city would withdraw from the agreement and seek some other avenue or individual to promote, in that unlikely scenario," Walker responded. "We're committing $50,000 for the first year with an option to renew for the second year."
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Callison told the council that the Farmers Market is attracting 80 vendors every week.
City Manager Scot Townsend said the vendors are not being charged for their spaces now. "If they're charged $10, do the math and it would be self-supporting. But we want to get it established." he said.
"We are succeeding and feel confident we will continue to succeed," said chamber president Paul Gottschall. "We appreciate what the city has done."
"We've got a lot of people's attention. We'll continue to go forward," Townsend said.
The second agreement entered into between the city and the chamber was regarding the management and operation of activities associated with the Parking and Business Improvement area.
Walker said that business owners in the Lindsay Improvement District voted to assess themselves $60,000 per year which makes up the bulk of the chamber of commerce funding.
The chamber is to initiate, sponsor, promote and carry out plans, policies and activities which will benefit and improve the Lindsay Parking and Business Improvement Areas.
The third and final agreement entered into between the city and the chamber of commerce was for the management of the Sierra Vista Plaza and Small Business Incubator Program. The city cut funding for the incubator program to $2,500 for the fiscal year, but the job description remained the same. The chamber acts as both landlord and business advisor. The chamber is also expected to assist graduates of the incubator to find a permanent location in the City of Lindsay.
In other council business:
Walker said this is the last of three USDA projects relating to the city's water and sewer systems. The city will be getting a USDA loan in the amount of $480,000, and a USDA grant for $828,000. The city must provide a $36,000 match. Walker said the USDA prefers an actual bond be issued by the city with the council's approval.
The Lindsay City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in council chambers at Lindsay City Hall.