Committee Gives Green Light For Chamber Funding

OSWEGO, NY – The issue of what funding the city provides for the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s events returned to the floor this week at the Administrative Services Committee.

Previously, the councilors took no action as they sought to get a clearer picture of how the money was being spent and what return the city got for its investment.

This week, they approved moving ahead with funding for the events the chamber facilitates in the Port City.

Councilors met with Beth Hilton, executive director of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the city’s budget as it relates to chamber events, Council President and committee chair RonKaplewicz said.

“The costs of these events is greater than what the city provides,” Hilton said.

For example, the city allocates $17,375 for the Independance Day Parade. The overall cost to the chamber is $18,874.42, Hilton said.

The events are also supported by sponsorships, where possible, and by fundraisers, she explained.

“I want to thank you for meeting with us,” Councilor Eric VanBuren told the director. “I’m in favor of allocating funds for this. I think we should encourage events in our city, to draw people here and to provide entretainment for residents living here.”

He added that he’d like to see the councilors get more involved in the chamber.

Councilor Bill Barlow said he also supports funding the events.

The council has to consider the morale of the city residents when it comes to events like these, he added.

Councilor Mike Myers agreed and said that he’d like to see a more itemized listing of how the money is spent for each event. That would help determine how efficiently the funds are being applied and what needs there might be.

At the meeting with the chamber, Kaplewicz said things were discussed such as expanding some events and finding funds other than city money to help support the events (state grant money, perhaps) “and looking at trying new things, see if we can’t add a little bit of new flair to them and foster a renewed intrest in some of these events.”

At its meeting next week, the full council will consider the chamber’s request for approval of the 2014 agreement between the city of Oswego and the chamber for the support of the chamber’s various programs designed to encourage and promote the economic development and commerce for the Port City.

The request includes:

$12,375 for the Independence Day Parade
$3,000 for Veterans’ Stage Concerts
$2,750 for Pumpkin Fest
$3,000 for Project Bloom
$2,375 for the Oswego Farmers’ Market

A number of the chamber’s events do get support from city businesses, according to Hilton.

“They definitely contributing their fair share,” she told the committee; but funding as a whole, is decreasing, she added.