‘Time to dissolve local Chamber of Commerce’

Dear editor,

In today’s economy, every city is doing what it can to narrow its focus on business development, save money and cut waste.

It’s time for Rockdale to make some hard decisions and getting rid of the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce is one of them.

I propose the Chamber be dissolved and its responsibilities folded into the Municipal Development District (MDD) for the following reasons:

• All the contact information the Chamber supposedly offers to prospective employers and visitors can be displayed on the new city website. This is the way business is done these days.

If the Chamber really answers as many calls as it says it does, then it should produce a call log with the action taken along with the date follow-up calls were made and the results.

• The Chamber board of director positions are poisoned with a few individuals who are not interested in bringing in new business, but making sure they are aware of what businesses are coming in to compete with their own.

If this is not true, then ask the Chamber directors what business they are currently working on to bring into Rockdale, and have them make a public report.

• The Chamber costs upwards of $50,000 to run including salaries, utilities, etc. That is $500,000 in ten years completely and totally wasted.

I would imagine the hotels that are being taxed to pay all that money would most likely say they haven’t seen any increase in business from the Chamber efforts.

However, they might say the chamber has supported more hotels at the cost of everything else to increase revenues to the chamber so it could have more money to throw into a rat- hole.

• If the hotel motel tax was decreased by half, and the money given to the local food pantry, or given to other volunteer organizations, such as a Keep Rockdale Beautiful fund, Rockdale would be a lot better off financially and aesthetically.

Did you ever notice the Chamber, who gets paid, is always requesting that everyone put their own money and time into volunteer efforts?

The Chamber actually has the gall to take money while the fire department is all-volunteer and has to rely on donations to save people’s lives and property. Something doesn’t make sense in that equation.

• Politically, the Chamber is a very, very polarizing organization in Rockdale and everyone knows it due to its alignment with the old school that has totally and completely failed to bring business to Rockdale, even during the boom years.

Could it be the Chamber does not have the slightest idea on how to create economic development?

Also, having the Chamber in the way creates an unneeded obstacle for the MDD. No matter what the Chamber says, they are going to create political hay for anyone or anything that has to do with business development in Rockdale, including the MDD.

This is the Chamber’s reputation for 10 years or more. Do you think it’s going to suddenly change with the creation of the MDD?

• Rockdale is located within commuting distance between two of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and here it sits, dead as a doornail.

The only thing Rockdale has right now is a reputation of environmental destruction, ignorance, narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Good luck selling that these days.

• Not to worry about a couple of people losing their jobs if the chamber closes. The town, including this writer, will certainly pray for them, then go about our business without their help like always.

If the town is so Republican, then the city council should do the “right” thing.

Turn the tax-supported Chamber of Commerce operations over to a private company or dissolve it altogether, lower the motel tax, work with the MDD and let the town fix itself.

Isn’t this the efficient government model the right wing supports? Or, is that model only touted when it supports their agenda?

Jim Gober

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2010-09-30 digital edition

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