3-30 Chamber for March 3/30
By MURRAY BISHOFF
Plans for the coming year and recent activities of the Monett Chamber of Commerce were discussed at the annual meeting of the incoming and outgoing boards of directors, held recently at Biermann's restaurant in Freistatt.
Much of the session was spent discussing Chamber policies and procedures to acquaint the incoming board with the functions of the Chamber. Incoming board members will attend an orientation session prior to the April 15 meeting to review bylaws, the policy manual, finances, committees and the calendar of activities.
Incoming President Lori Negre plans to announce committee chairmen at the April meeting. Negre also indicated she plans to name task forces this year to tackle specific areas, which she will also name in April.
Preparations for the annual board retreat will be made over the next two board meetings. The coming year's work plan and priorities for the next few years will be developed through that process.
Solidifying the leadership for the coming year, board members elected Danny Vaughn as president-elect. Vaughn then will take over as president for 2010-11.
Outgoing President John Bruner, who remains on the board for another year as past president, reported around 300 people attended this year's annual banquet. According to reports from those on hand, the red carpet greeting and treatment were particularly popular. Mike Garrett was commended for his efforts as master of ceremony.
The annual agriculture conferences had gone well, reported ag chairman Tim Dieckhoff. Attendance had been so high at the beef cattlemen's conference that for the first time, all of the chili prepared for the dinner by the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen's Association was used up. The lunch remaining from the Dairy Day conference was donated to Loaves and Fishes.
Dieckhoff announced the Junior Livestock Show for 2009 would be held on June 13 at Vaughn's Arena, returning to the 2008 location for the second year.
As for ongoing Chamber activities, Mike Garrett reported on the work with Drury University, the city, and the Downtown Betterment Group toward finding solutions for Monett's downtown. Sessions to date have been stimulating and productive, Garrett felt. The next gathering will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 6, at the City Park Casino.
The leadership class sponsored by the Chamber has gotten underway, reported Cindy Stephens. In the second session, after the initial retreat, participants got a crash course in Monett history. In addition to a presentation, they toured the Stone Hotel, located above Mansfield's clothing store, for a first-hand feel of what Monett had been like in the early days, with tour guide Charles Rowell.
Rowell and Rod Anderson then gave participants a tour of the city museum, run by the Monett Historical Society at 705 East Broadway. Chamber executive director Suzy McElmurry noted none of the class had been to the museum before.
For their next gathering, the class focused on education and took a tour of the Southwest Area Career Center at Monett, sponsored by UMB Bank. The class will meet again on April 9 and focus on economic development.
The board's next regular meeting will include team building exercises. Jane Swortwood, with Seeking Success Consulting, which does personnel training for Jack Henry and Associates, will lead the session. Board members in advance will fill out surveys on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as background for the discussion.
Membership renewals were up to 124 by the board meeting, with another 135 due. McElmurry said with new memberships, the Chamber should come close to 300 members this year. A number of past members who had not signed up last year have also returned. She felt that was a good sign that in the current economic climate, the Chamber was important, offering leadership and networking opportunities.
Other upcoming Chamber activities include the prayer breakfast on May 7 at the Monett City Park Casino, hosted by the Monett Ministerial Association. The Chamber will again coordinate the event.
Lighting displays for the Festival of Lights remain on sale through the end of April at a 30 percent discount. Catalogues are available at the Chamber office at 200 East Broadway.
The Chamber's license office is now accepting credit cards, McElmurry reported. The service became available after an agreement was put in place between the Missouri Department of Revenue and credit card companies and the addition of equipment at the office.
American Express, Master Card and Discover credit cards will be accepted. A handling fee of $1 will be charged for transactions of $50 or less. Higher transactions will be charged 2.75 percent of the bill. Visa and Master Card debit cards are accepted at no charge.
The display case at the Monett Municipal Airport will move from having a display about downtown businesses into an exhibit from Hydro Aluminum for the coming quarter, according to McElmurry.
The Monett Industry Council members in their recent meeting discussed what to do about processing workers' compensation claims with the closing of the Freeman Occumed office in Monett in February. Increases in city water and sewer rates are slated for discussion at the next meeting, according to McElmurry.