Chamber of commerce budget OK’d

With an outpouring of support from more than 50 residents the city commission approved the 2013 budget for the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the $35,500 budget for the chamber, which will come from Lodger's Tax funds.

The $35,500 will cover the cost of national and international advertising and other related expenses.

Patsy Gresham, chamber director, appeared before the commission Thursday to ask them to approve their budget and reconsider the recommendation of the Lodger's Tax Board, in regards to their funding.

The lodger's tax board had recommended that the commission not approve a lump sum for the chamber, but instead have the chamber approach the commission with each individual expenditure.

Gresham said the chamber cannot operate that way, as there are too many time-sensitive opportunities that it would miss out on if it required individual approval from the city commission.

"The chamber cannot represent the city properly with a diminished or restricted funding," Gresham said.

"The advertising the chamber does for this city is vital to all industry," said Dan Cross, business owner.

Cross said the chamber advertisements not only bring in people from across the country, but also attract international tourists to the city. He said without an international advertisement presence, which the chamber provides, tourists are likely to overlook Tucumcari.

The chamber plays an important part in a lot of businesses in town, said Yvonne Braziel, restaurant owner.

Braziel said the commissioners must remember how much hospitality and restaurant industries put into the city. She said Del's restaurants has more than 150 bus and motorcycle groups stop in every year, which results in money for the city.

The chamber is a group that has been in the city through the good times and the bad, said Jim Lafferty. He didn't understand why the commission would back away from funding the chamber, given its benefits to Tucumcari and Quay County.

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