The Cotati City Council approved 5 to 0 Tuesday evening a financial support request of $15,000 for the Cotati Chamber of Commerce, which typically receives monetary support from the city’s contribution budget.
Council members unanimously approved the aid request for the chamber’s current fiscal year, 2017-2018. The request is made possible by the city’s operating fund budget and will be made immediately.
In years past, a total of $25,000 was allocated and set aside in the city’s budget for contributions to organizations such as the chamber, and to other nonprofits and even after waiving various park fees for special events, Parker says there is still a buck in the bank to fund the chamber’s aid.
“There are sufficient funds in the council’s contribution budget to cover the request,” Parker said.
This sort of aid isn’t unusual as the city has regularly provided funds over the years for the chamber, according to the agenda item report prepared by Community Development Director, Vikki Parker.
“The council has supported the chamber monetarily for many, many years beginning in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. After a period of not having a lot of funds we settled on an amount of $15,000 that we have provided in those past fiscal years,” Parker explained.
Other cities throughout the state, such as Carmel and cities in the San Diego area also sometimes make monetary contributions to their chambers, however, many have had to cut back, including the glam tourist destination of Carmel, which provided $0 for the chamber in 2017.
The council received the financial assistance request from the Cotati Chamber of Commerce President, Erin Armstrong in March of this year, stating that the city had agreed to give the $15,000 amount to the chamber at a 2018-2019 budget session meeting.
Armstrong says the funds are important for helping to offset some of the costs of projects and efforts the chamber makes on behalf of the city, such as the jazz festival, quarterly educational and informative meetings and newsletters, just to name a few.
Council members did not have any issues in approving the request; however, Council member John Dell’Osso did say he would like someone from the chamber to report back a few times a year on how they use the $15,000 contribution.
“I’d like to see and this can be orally or in writing, halfway through the fiscal year for someone to appear before the council and the public and say here’s how we spent it. I think it is important for transparency,” Dell’Osso said.
Mayor Mark Landman said the council is happy to be supporting the chamber, but also agreed that more in depth reporting on what the chamber brings back to the community. He also mentioned he would like to see the chamber have more networking opportunities for current and potential businesses. Landman also noted, “I would like to see an increased effort in pulling in more businesses on the west side.”
Armstrong said of city’s support, “We thank you very much for acknowledging in this manner, the work that the chamber does to promote Cotati’s businesses.