First I want to say this is my opinion only and some good people disagree with my stand. That being said, we have in the past been a member of the Belvidere Chamber of Commerce. Recently we received the statement for the upcoming year. It is for $275.00. I say let it go.
This topic was discussed during the last board meeting and there was of course disagreement about whether to remain a member. Finally the G.M. said he would ask the Chamber director to come and explain the benefits to us at the next board meeting. That is not going to happen. The director agreed to meet available board members for lunch at the dockside. I, as well as some other board members, are unable to or will not attend.
Here is my feeling on this issue. All board members receive emails from the Chamber about upcoming events. After reading these for a couple months I directed them to the spam file and never read them. I asked the other board members if they read them. As I recall one reads them, one doesn’t even get them, and the others also do not read them. Believe me board members have enough Candlewick meetings without attending Chamber meetings as well. I would be amazed if any prospective property owner would decide against moving here because we are not a member of the Belvidere Chamber.
I believe to spend the hard earned money of our property owners there needs to be a shown benefit to the P.O.s. I can find no instance where Chamber membership has benefited us in any way other than if we want to be able to say we are a member. The comment was made that possibly we could use them to publicize our events in the future. Well, why not in the past? We have received no benefit from membership and most of our events are closed to the public anyway.
The argument will be made that even though we are not “commerce” (or a business) we still should join because organizations such as the United Way are members. So what? They are wrong to spend their donations for membership as well. Is this why you donate to the United Way? We are prohibited from making donations by our rules. This to me is nothing more than a donation. If the other board members are determined to spend the $275 let’s use it for a program for the kids or more plantings for lake quality or toward the upgrading of the tornado siren that we had to do recently.
This is your money folks. I have just given you the “skinny” on my stand. Anyone who wishes to take the other side please email your comments to me and as long as it is a true argument on the other side of the issue I will post it. Show me I am wrong.