Chamber is willing to lift its game

EDITORIAL: Chamber takes advice

ALBURY Northside Chamber of Commerce is comfortable with getting a smaller subsidy from Albury Council despite one councillor’s criticism of its performance.

Board chairman Phil Clements said yesterday the chamber would take on board the council’s advice to explore a closer association with Albury Central that could lead to a merger of administrative functions.

The chamber and the retail group both took a hit on subsidies compared to previous years.

Councillors voted 8-1 on both reductions with Cr Darren Cameron opposing both requests.

“Out of the nine councillors we only had one dissenting voice,” Mr Clements said.

“It is a huge wrap for us in terms of what the chamber is doing and can do.

“We recognise some improvements are required, but we can live with that — the challenge is to get more effective and attract more members.”

Mr Clements said different types of events and sponsorship packages were being discussed and more time would be devoted to servicing existing members and recruiting others.

The council’s cash, given every year since 2006, depends on meeting targets related to increases in members and participation, advocacy for local business and industry and being less reliant on ratepayer funds.

The chamber had hoped for a return to a four-year funding commitment at $140,000 a year.

Instead, funding for the next two financial years will be $133,333 and $130,080 respectively.

Membership income this financial year is forecast to be $82,000, up almost $10,000.

Mr Clements said preliminary talks had started with Albury Central about closer working ties, but a merger remains some time away.

“The council is quite clearly of the view there is some common ground between the two,” Mr Clements said.

“We will be actively pursuing that with the Albury Central committee.”

Albury Central has had its subsidy cut to $15,000 and $10,000 for the next two financial years and had a combined $17,000 in cash and support of the Applause Festival scrapped.

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