MONTROSE — The Montrose City Council voted to terminate the City’s contract with the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism on Jan. 22 causing the organization to “drastically” change its program of work.
“It was quite a surprise for us,” Montrose ACT Director Jenni Sopsic said last week, adding that her organization “has been on an annual contract with the City of Montrose” for funds providing two-thirds of its annual operating budget since the organization’s inception three years ago.
Despite the fact that for each of those three years, “this is always on the table,” Sopsic said, of renewing ACT’s contract with the City, “We were all caught quite off guard.”
The ACT Board of Directors met Thursday to discuss the loss of funding.
“As you know,” Sopsic wrote in a letter to members after the BOD meeting, “Montrose ACT is funded three ways; membership dues and fundraising, tourism promotion funds (taxes), and retail enhancement funds (taxes). Each year we have been in [a] contract with the city of Montrose to manage those funds and oversee the programs and each year the city can choose to renew or not renew the contract. This year city council voted to not renew the contract as they feel they can run a more comprehensive and accountable program. Unfortunately there was not much room for discussion for us on the direction they chose to go in.
“Although this drastically changes our program of work, Montrose ACT will continue to be your chamber of commerce, that will not change,” she wrote.
Instead of going to MACT, according to a press release, the City of Montrose will pursue “a new, comprehensive approach,” and use the money for its new Retail Sales Enhancement and Tourism Promotion programs, to be managed through the office of City Manager Bill Bell.
Bell could not be reached for comment.
The city’s contract with MACT will conclude on March 31.
“We respect Montrose ACT’s place in the community, and fully support its role as a traditional Chamber of Commerce organization,” said Mayor Thomas Smits. “We believe that this change will allow them to focus on their core mission, while opening promising new opportunities to promote tourism and commerce in Montrose.”