Water and Sewer Board approve $15k donation to Chamber

The main item for the Daleville Water and Sewer Board for the Dec. 12 meeting was the funding request from the Chamber of Commerce. In the November meeting, the board voted to give an amount to the chamber as a donation instead of as payroll. The exact amount to be given was tabled to be decided at the December meeting.

Previously, the board has given various amounts to the chamber in the form of payroll for the chamber executive director. Last year the board approved $15,000 for salary. The board incurred the cost of payroll fees associated with that salary.

Chamber President Michelle Powell spoke on behalf of the chamber. According to Powell, after bills are paid, including the $500 that is designated for a scholarship for the Miss Daleville pageant winner there will be about $242 left in the chamber account.

Powell wanted to clarify some points that were not included in the submitted report.

“There are a few things I would like to point out that are not on the financial report. Out of our 68 dues paying members, we have about 14 active members. People affiliated with the city such as the library we don’t charge them, we just represent them and include them in activities,” Powell said. “When I say active that means they participate when we have an event. They have an activity, provide food, sponsor, etc. That includes businesses and non profits. When I say active I am talking about past the point of paying your investment fee. The remainder pay their investment fee and that is all they do.”

Powell told the board that the chamber board has other events and fundraisers planned.

“We have other things that we have talked about that we would like to have coming up this year, which is going to require more work, more effort. Some of it will be doing things to bring attention to Daleville. Giving people a reason to come to Daleville on a Saturday,” Powell said. “We are hoping to have more involvement this year. From last January until now we have seen people’s attitudes changing. These preconceived notions are starting to take a shift.”

Water board chairman Charles Tongret was not in favor of giving more funding to the chamber at the November meeting. He questioned the lack of active chamber members as a lack of support from the city.

“The City of Daleville isn’t really supporting this as far as with volunteers and activities,” Tongret said.

“We have had two volunteers over the year … that do not want to be chamber members. They just want to be involved. That brings me back to change is going to be coming and it is going to take more effort,” Powell said. “The statement was made I felt like it was leaning more towards that the chamber should be more self supporting as far as paying the executive director or the chairman. I can see that but I cannot see it right now in Daleville. We are going to have more activities where businesses can donate certificates to go in baskets and stuff like that, trying to get more involvement from the businesses.

“I just want to say that we have a part time chamber. We do not have the revenue that Enterprise has. They have more than just an executive director working for the chamber. We don’t have the revenue,” Powell said. “For us to do more and have less monetary support…I am not up here saying that I should get paid for everything I do. I have a heart for Daleville and Kecia (Ham, chamber director) has a heart for Daleville.”

“As long as she is paid,” Tongret said. “She made that clear last month. As long as she is paid she has a big heart. She made it clear last month that if she is not getting paid what she made last year she is done.”

“She was not saying that she would not do this for less than $15,000 herself. It is the idea of not having at least the same support that we had last year. But we are wanting to do more,” Powell said.

Board member Scott Moore recognized the efforts of the chamber over the past year.

“To me I have seen tremendous effort. You guys probably don’t see her but they are in our office all the time. Before that we never saw anybody,” Moore said.

Board member Patrick Sullen agreed.

“I have seen a lot of effort,” Sullen said.

Powell said that although this is the age of technology with social media and emails the chamber makes the effort to go out and see people in person.

“That is something that she and I both agree on, this is the age of technology, you can email, you can phone call and all that, but we still want to go in and see people, talk to people, listen to people and get ideas,” Powell said. 

Powell said some of the events they have planned are geared toward children and the older population.

“We want to do something to bring some of the older people out into the community. Also we want to have a career day at the school,” Powell said. “It would not be a fundraiser for us, but it is something we can do for them.”

Powell said that with the dues invoices members will be given the opportunity to be a chamber sponsor which would provide money upfront for operating costs and to budget with through the year. Chamber sponsors would be afforded extra benefits.

“I feel good. I mean it is obvious from making the motion last time. I support this and I don’t have any problem to tell you the truth with the number because the board does make a profit,” Moore said.

“In my opinion it has gotten better through the year. Less support and asking for better results doesn’t make sense,” board member Josh Robertson said.

“I don’t want to see us lose the chamber so I am going to go ahead and do it. I make a motion to grant the $15,000,” Moore said.

Robertson seconded.

Moore, Robertson and Sullen voted in favor, Reese and Tongret voted against. 

“This is a $15,000 donation,” Tongret said. “This is not payroll.”

In other business, the agenda was approved; the November meeting minutes were approved in a 4-1 vote with council member Jo Reese voting against; after review and discussion, the bills were approved; and two water board customers were present for review of their bills. One was tabled allow the customer further time for repairs. The other was approved for bill reduction due to repairs.

The next Water and Sewer Board meeting will be on Jan. 21, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. in the courtroom located at City Hall.

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