A moment of contention from councilwoman Helen Hardman about the wording of proposed changes in the bylaws of the Tourism Board made by the Chamber of Commerce started a spirited debate between the council members and Chamber president Robb Nichols during the city council’s regularly scheduled work session on Thursday, Nov. 21.
“I have read several times these bylaws and I can not vote for them,” said Hardman. “It’s not what I voted for when we first started talking about separating out the Tourism Board. These from my point of view will not work.”
Hardman took exception with the fact that the amended bylaws suggest that the Tourism Board would be a part of the Chamber and would be reporting to the Chamber Board.
“A board is supposed to be able to vote and not have to report to anyone else,” Hardman said. “I just don’t think that this will work and definitely isn’t what I voted for.”
Councilman Ron Larson agreed with Hardman, saying that the amended bylaws convey a “lack of independence” between the two bodies.
“I think that we need to have some more dialogue as well,” said Larson.
Councilman Mitch Ridley concurred and told the council that the Tourism Board and the Chamber “need to be independent of each other.”
Nichols defended the amended bylaws.
“Any further separation and you’re going need to create a separate 501c6 and it’s going to be a completely separate entity,” said Nichols. “We have done a lot to give the board autonomy.”
The council originally voted to separate the two bodies, but wanted them to both work under the same umbrella.
Hardman went on to speak about how the Chamber answers to their members and that the Tourism Board is accountable to the city and county and have two separate agendas.
After a lengthy discussion, mayor Sam Norton and the council agreed that city manager Bill Schmid, Nichols and the council should work together to revise the language of the bylaws and revisit them at a later date. As the discussion happened during a work session, no official action was taken on the issue.
IN OTHER CITY NEWS
• Water/wastewater treatment superintendent John Jarrard told the council that the city will have its own bottled water soon. Jarrard said that he expects the first shipment of water to be at the plant by December 5 and hopes that they can start being passed out by December 7th’s Old Fashioned Christmas event.
• The council discussed an ordinance that would allow farm winery licensees to perform outdoor wine tastings that would occur on public sidewalks so long as the licensee is permitted under the provisions of Ordinance 91-9.