Chamber’s budget less than expected |

Chamber’s budget less than expected

The Grass Valley/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce should get a $5,000 increase in contributions from the city of Grass Valley next year, city officials said Thursday.

The raise is far less than the $21,700 increase the chamber requested.

The city’s $13.8 million budget – an estimate of what the city is expected to receive and spend between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003 – is undergoing review. It will need City Council approval before it is adopted.

The chamber, which now receives $21,500 a year from the city, operates on a $200,000 annual budget.

“I didn’t think there was enough money in the budget to warrant (the increase),” said Vice Mayor Patti Ingram after reviewing a draft of the budget with Mayor Linda Stevens Thursday.

The chamber had requested the extra money to offset costs of building a new Web site, beefing up the visitor center at the historic Lola Montez house on Mill Street, and promoting the Grass Valley area, the chamber said.

Mary Ann Mueller, chamber president and chief executive officer, said the organization is disappointed but will not go out of business. But the chamber may have to do with less advertising, she said.

A separate plan to spend $21,700 to $85,000 in city money to buy ads in publications in Sacramento, the Bay Area and Reno was nixed altogether.

“We’re not sure of the overall benefits (of the plan),” Ingram said.

Matt Weaver, who worked on the proposal on behalf of the chamber and Grass Valley Downtown Association, said he is disappointed, but understands the city has other priorities.

Because of Sept. 11, people want to drive, rather than fly, to places, Weaver said. “All we have to tell them is where we are.”

The final budget could also include less travel money for the City Council. The reduction – $2,000 – could be set aside to entertain visitors from Bodmin, the city’s sister city in Cornwall, or to send a city representative to England.

The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce receives 8 percent of that city’s room tax money – approximately $29,600 a year, according to city figures – and other benefits.

Businesses pitch in to buy ads to promote the city, said Cathy Whittlesey, executive manager of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce

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