Chamber taking its case for more money to Thatcher Council on Monday

Graham County Chamber of Commerce's Vance Bryce and Brittany Hernandez present a new funding proposal to the Safford City Council on Feb. 8. - Contributed Photo

THATCHER — The second stop on the Graham County Chamber of Commerce’s roll-out of its proposed changes in funding will take place Monday when the Chamber goes before the Thatcher Town Council.

“Looking back 20 years, and seeing what the Chamber used to be before the internet and what kind of institution it was, it’s not that institution anymore,” said Chamber Executive Director Vance Bryce. “It needs to be in the digital age, it needs to be grounded on cutting-edge innovation of what businesses are doing. We need the support of the community like we did back then, too. Otherwise, we’re just kind of an empty shell there on the highway.”

The Chamber is proposing increasing Thatcher’s contribution from 4 percent to 20 percent of the Chamber’s budget, Pima’s contribution from 0.1 percent to 10 percent, Graham County’s from 3 percent to 5 percent and decreasing Safford’s contribution from 64 percent to 38 percent. Funding from memberships would remain flat.

To warrant the increase in funding, the Chamber is proposing merchant organizations for Thatcher and Pima, similar to Safford’s Downtown Association, as well as staging and supporting an increased number of events in the two communities.

However, if the towns don’t agree with a change in funding, Bryce said it would likely result in a reduction in staff, a reduction in the number of events and a change of focus for the Chamber, concentrating primarily on Safford.

In addition to the presentation Monday during the Thatcher Town Council meeting, the Chamber will present to the Pima Town Council on March 2.