Chamber declines commission funding



Tuesday morning, the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce took a significant step toward becoming a stronger and healthier organization. At its monthly board meeting, the directors came to the conclusion that it was time to end its partnership with the Blount County Commission.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, executive director Barbara Andersen (pictured at left with Miss Blount County’s Outstanding Teen Lona Jo Henderson) said, “The Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce has come to realize that it can no longer count on the Blount County Commission as a stable source of funding. They debated completely defunding the chamber this year, but finally settled on an amount that was a small fraction of past funding levels. We feel it is in the best interest of the chamber to finally acknowledge this annually unpredictable situation and to forge a path forward without their support.”

Therefore, the chamber declined the $9,000 that was offered by the Commission for the 2020-2021 fiscal year and will not be requesting funds in the future. Without the annual contract of services, the commission will no longer have representation on the board or share in the oversight of the organization.

“Not relying on the commission’s funding will make for more stable financial planning … and will make it easier to plan projects, services, and events,” Andersen continued. “The Chamber will become a much healthier entity, which will allow us to do an even better job of serving our members, sustaining partners, and municipalities located throughout the county. That will not change. We will still be the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce.

“Being independent from the commission will give more of a voice to our municipalities and strengthen the bond between the chamber and the municipalities. This is an aspect of this move that the Chamber is very excited about, and we look forward to starting some new initiatives in the coming year that will shine a spotlight on the good things that are happening in all corners of our county.”