Although the turnout at Thursday night's meeting was small with a little more than 20 people, much progress was made. After the last meeting, it was decided that the chamber should form first and then members would come on board.
The first step was creating a Mission Statement. After one was drafted by Jim Nottingham, it was reviewed, revised and approved last night:
The Nanuet Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting and supporting the business, civic and cultural vitality in Nanuet through advocacy, leadership and networking to create a vibrant, prosperous, environmentally sound and strong community.
At an Clem Yeboah, president of , suggested a basic outline for the creation and organization of a chamber since he had several experiences with start-up chambers and similar groups.
“The by-laws committee should come up with some sort of framework and mission statement first and then there should be an interim board of 11 people to decide on the legal things the chamber needs to get started,” said Yeboah. He added that after the interim board gets the skeleton of the chamber formed, members need to join and/or be recruited so that when the nominating committee presents board candidates, there are members to vote on board members.
Here's a summary of what was decided by the end of Thursday's meeting:
- The date of the next meeting was established: 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 14 at the .
- Member dues were established
- The bylaws committee will come up with a draft of the bylaws for the next meeting
- The interim board members would be decided on at the next meeting
One item discussed last night that will be finalized at the next meeting is the interim board. The interim board will consist of an odd number of people to vote on decisions necessary to form a chamber, such as establishing the non-profit status for the chamber and setting up a website.
Those interested need to give certain information, such as their skill sets, what they can bring to the board, a physical committment to come to most meetings, etc ...
"The board should be made up of qualified individuals," said Yeboah. He gave examples such as having someone that is legal-minded, someone that can bring the perspective of a small business owner, someone who knows finance, etc ...
"We're going to incur fees pretty quickly in terms of filing (for non-profit status), so we need to have levels of membership established," said Risa Hoag of Nanuet and GMG Public Relations.
At an earlier chamber meeting, it was discussed having different membership levels and dues.
"When you have a very complex structure, it becomes complicated to police and manage," said Yeboah, referring to having too many membership levels.
Kevin Hardy, president of the Pearl River Chamber of Commerce, said to not rely on membership dues for revenue, that most of the revenue for the Pearl River Chamber comes from their events. Last night, the discussion was lengthy on resident/individual dues.
“The majority of our members are businesses,” said Hardy. "You can revisit (membership due levels) later and change them.” He added that only about 15 out of more than 100 members are residents in the Pearl River Chamber .
He also mentioned that the low number of residents joining the chamber is due to the fact that "it’s hard to communicate (resident benefits) to them," he said. “Some don't know that the chamber does the holiday lights. We got the grant money to redo the sidewalks as well."
“Corporations and larger businesses used to support us (the rotary),” said Roy Giampicolo, and a Nanuet Rotarian.
“It’s a different ballgame now,” added Bob Gregory of . He also asked Hardy how many Pearl River Chamber members were also Rotarians.
“Not that many,” he replied. “There’s not a lot of cross-promotion and I think it’s one of the problems.”
Annual Membership Due Levels:
- Non-Business Individuals: $25
- Businesses: $125
- Founding* Non-Business Individual: $80
- Founding* Business Individual: $475
*Founding Members will receive four years of membership at a discounted rate and will permanently have the title of being a Founding member of the Nanuet Chamber of Commerce.
Those that came to last night's meeting decided that they didn't need to reinvent the wheel when creating the bylaws, that the bylaws committee should pick an existing chamber's bylaws to model after and revise it accordingly.
"Our bylaws are open enough for you to use (and adapt) if you need to," said Hardy.
"When you're developing the bylaws you try to be as simple as possible," said Yeboah. "When you change the bylaws, it has to be filed with the state and the IRS. It's easier to do it out of policy statements at the board level."
If you’re interested in joining a committee, contact Risa Hoag at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Kim Tran at Kim@Patch
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