Chamber dismayed by lack of MCC help

Friday, April 30, 2010

Without discussion on Monday night, Marshall County commissioners declined to appropriate more money to the Chamber of Commerce.

During budget deliberations last spring and summer, the Chamber requested $10,000 from the county. The Budget Committee and another committee recommended $3,000 and that's what's in the current budget for the Chamber.

The Chamber recently requested $7,000, or the balance of what had been sought. That request was presented to the commission during its monthly meeting by Commissioner Jimmy Stitt, chairman of the Economic and Community Development - Tourism Committee. He reported that the resolution to provide the $7,000 with money from hotel and motel room rent taxes had not been endorsed by a committee.

Stitt made no motion for action by the commission, nor did another commissioner, so the elected panel turned to other items on the agenda.

Ritaanne Weaver, executive director of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce, speaking on behalf of herself, the Chamber's Board of Directors and Chamber President Melody Spence, issued a statement about the commission's decision.

"We are extremely disappointed that we were denied funding once again by the Marshall County Commission," Weaver said. "We find it especially surprising since we: issue relocation packages weekly; answer hundreds of calls per month; sponsor Leadership Marshall; promote shopping local and tourism; and are set up as a Small Business Center by Middle Tennessee State University.

"Because we do all that, we support them, but they don't support us," Weaver said.

Also Monday, commissioners voted to appropriate ECD-Tourism funds as follows.

* $2,000 to Leadership Marshall which will spend the money on building materials for a helicopter ambulance landing pad at the county's Emergency Medical Services headquarters and ambulance station on South Ellington Parkway.

* $9,500 to the Solid Waste Department to buy recycling containers for horse shows, Goat Fest, the Battle of the Bands and the like, and to buy more permanent recycling containers for sports venues including youth and/or school baseball, soccer, football and basketball.

* $1,000 to the Joint Economic and Community Development Board's Three Star Committee that oversees advertising of various events to promote tourism. The money will be used to advertise the Cruise-Ins this spring and summer. Commissioners were told this is the last county appropriation for the event that in later years is to be run by the Lewisburg Downtown Alliance.