The Edgerton City Council cancelled their $5,000 contract with the Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce effective March 12, at the request of the Gardner City Council.
Rex Cummings, chairman of the chamber board, provided background on the chamber and said the last five (5) years they have included the City of Edgerton.
At the request of the Gardner City Council, the chamber board decided to serve only Gardner and not multiple municipalities.
At a February meeting, the Gardner council discussed chamber funding, originally set at $90,000, and suggested Edgerton not be included. They also set aside $5,000 to “rebrand” the chamber’s official name; however, due to a shortage of transient guest tax funds, the Gardner council could not afford the additional funding and kept it at $40,000.
At the March Edgerton meeting, Cummings said the chamber will meet the obligations set forth in the December 2020 contract if Edgerton would like to finish out the contract.
Don Roberts, mayor, reiterated that this item arose from a Gardner City Council meeting and was not initiated by the chamber.
After much discussion, the council voted unanimously to sever their contract with the Gardner chamber.
Edgerton council could have decided to continue the 2020 contract, or terminate it. Roberts explained Cummings manages a hardware store in Gardner and understands this was not an easy decision by the chamber as they were put in a difficult situation.
Roberts said money agreed to between Edgerton and the chamber in the contract will now benefit Gardner and may or may not benefit Edgerton.
Cummings said it was not an easy decision by the board as they looked at the area and not the city limits. Cummings told the council that the chamber supports businesses no matter where they are located.
Asked if business owners in Edgerton could still be members, Cummings replied ‘yes,’ and the City of Edgerton can still be a member, but the chamber will not be presenting items before the council as they do quarterly.
Kurt Longanecker, council member, inquired as to how the services would change.
Cummings said Jason Camis, Gardner chamber president, would be better at answering, but a contract was agreed upon by the city and chamber, where Edgerton provided funding to the chamber and Camis made quarterly presentations. The chamber provided advertisements and other benefits for Edgerton.
Camis did not attend the March Edgerton council meeting.
Beth Linn, city administrator, showed the 2020 agreement to the council. She said one of the biggest benefits the city gets are new resident bags. She stated the publishing of a magazine, map, joint events with Gardner, and support for community events are all benefits the city gets from their partnership with the chamber.
Linn explained the chamber would honor the contract to supply these benefits until the end of the year, or the council could decide to make the agreement null and void.
As of March, Linn stated many factors would need to be considered as at this moment, Edgerton had not paid. Per the agreement that was presented to the council on Dec. 12, 2019 Edgerton was to pay the chamber a total of $5,000, which was to be divided to pay for membership dues, production of the Gardner-Edgerton map, and production of the GE Magazine. Linn stated the maps were provided prior to he meeting, and the magazine has not started publication.
Joshua Beem, council member, said Edgerton only had about a page in the last issue. Linn said the city itself was on that article, but there was also one for Hostess in the same issue.
Roberts asked if there are specific items the council would like staff to look into and requested a direction. He said he thinks the city could step out of the chamber and put resources towards businesses in Edgerton.
There was discussion of using Edgerton’s money for local businesses and welcome bags.
A motion was made to leave the chamber immediately, and it was approved by unanimous vote.