Joplin's City Council meets tonight to discuss giving money to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber of commerce is affiliated with the city, but a separate entity.
Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian says the amount of money the chamber is requesting from the City of Joplin for financial help is a decrease from previous years.
"We are a contractee to the city," says O'Brian.
In 2015, state auditors said the City of Joplin was giving too much money towards the chamber.
"The city felt that they definitely needed to have a response to that," says O'Brian.
So last year's city budget for the chamber was $270,000, $30,000 less than what was included in 2014.
"I think everyone, once they look at their budget that exists today, where it existed last year, say well, it's going to hurt," says O'Brian.
The chamber is asking for the same amount of money from the city this year.
"We do feel that, with that decrease from a year ago to where we are today, that there were some marketing events that we gave up," says O'Brian.
The chamber of commerce president says these marketing events, held in major cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas, were good networking events where some of Joplin's open warehouses and other business opportunities were showcased. Now, the chamber has a contract with one company that represents several cities at marketing events.
"Even though it's not just us, we're one of a bundle of clients for that company, the fact is, we still get a presence and we still get the leads. They actually vet the leads to see which ones are the best fit for us, so then we can follow-up," says O'Brian.
$90,000 of what the chamber is asking from the city will go towards helping to pay for four chamber employees. The remaining $180,000 will go towards economic development projects.
"Marketing, meeting with site consultants across the country," says O'Brian.
O'Brian says the $270,000 worth of city funds make up less than ten percent of the chamber's annual budget. He also says the new partnership with the outside company to help generate business opportunities has proven to be beneficial, though not the same as being at events in-person.
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