Fraser considers withdrawing from Chamber
December 1, 2016
The Fraser Town council has not yet approved their 2017 budget, but there are potential changes that have been discussed for the town to move in a different direction.
In an effort to make their own businesses priority, the Town Council discussed possible intentions to no longer fund the Winter Park/Fraser Chamber at their November 16 meeting. Five members of the board were in favor of the move, while two were not.
Those in favor of the move discussed several reasons why they thought it would benefit the town. Most of the board agreed that the Winter Park/Fraser Chamber is mostly focused on getting tourists to the valley, but it is Fraser's job to get the visitors in their businesses. In order to do this, the board discussed the potential of hiring their own business recruiter to do this job instead of the chamber.
Fraser wants to develop their own business community with additions of more employee housing, restaurants, and shopping. Those in favor said they wanted to use the money that is normally for the chamber to pursue other business development.
The future Winter Park grocery store was a concern to the board as well. Some board members said they were fearful that the store would draw business away from Safeway in Fraser, who is not a chamber member.
Board members Andy Miller and Katie Soles disagreed stating that pulling out from the Chamber funding is a bad image for Fraser's integrity. They both agreed that the towns of Fraser and Winter Park need each other. Miller and Soles said they felt Fraser should contribute at least some to the Chamber.
The board does not need to vote on the matter because it will be included in approving the 2017 budget, but board members in favor requested a confirmation of the action from Town Manager Jeff Durbin.
Durbin said he would begin looking into the costs of hiring someone for a business recruiter-type position for the town of Fraser.
Fraser has made several other moves to further their image and attractiveness to tourists including the addition of an Economic Advisory Committee and a Public Arts Committee, both of which are paid committees, that will be included in the 2017 budget expenditures.
This story will be updated when Fraser approves their 2017 Annual Budget.