RIDGWAY – After a harsh winter storm postponed its meeting earlier this month, the Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce has rescheduled its annual membership meeting to Tuesday, Dec. 29 at the Ridgway Community Center (Town Hall) at 6:30 p.m. A variety of topics will be discussed including changes to its bylaws, a possible merger with the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and the upcoming lodging tax ballot question.
RACC Board President John Lorimer said on Tuesday that the meeting will provide a look ahead at what the RACC will be involved in over the next year, most of which will be dedicated to finding ways to improve the business climate in Ridgway and Ouray County. Most important for RACC members, Lorimer said, will be the re-organization of the chamber’s bylaws.
“This will be a key part of the meeting,” he said. “Almost all of the bylaws have been rewritten to focus on the mission. There are also some procedural things, which will basically give the body more authority than the board of directors. General meetings will become more important for major issues.” He added that a whole new section added to the chamber’s bylaws deals specifically with a new code of ethics.
Up for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting will be the topic of a possible RACC merger with OCRA.
“Right now we are working on collaborative ideas,” Lorimer said. As an example of merger possibilities, he said they may consider providing a discount to business owners who join both chambers. “We will also discuss joining together to get some planning work done and move forward organizationally,” Lorimer said.
A hand vote at Tuesday’s meeting will decide if the chamber will move forward with the formation of an economic development sub-organization. This organization, Lorimer said, would act as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
“There are a ton of grants out there for economic development and having a nonprofit group would enable us to go out and get those grants,” Lorimer said.
Also up for discussion at the meeting will be how the RACC can become stronger if Ridgway voters approve an April ballot question that would give 100 percent of the town’s collected lodging tax funds to the RACC for marketing purposes. Currently the RACC receives half of the town’s collected lodging tax funds, which is, on average, approximately $12,000 per year. The ballot question is still being drafted by town staff and its final form has not yet been approved by the Ridgway Town Council.
RACC members will have the opportunity to learn about marketing on RACC’s website and will also be taking input on improving the business climate.
The chamber is asking for those who attend to bring an appetizer to share. Brew from the Colorado Boy Brewery will be served. Lorimer may be reached at 970/325-7961.