The Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) have long co-existed, sharing administrative costs.

However, due to “gray areas” in the policies that govern the two entities, the CVB board recently voted to restructure the CVB so it would be solely responsible for the administration and direction of the CVB. Prior to that vote, the CVB paid the Chamber for such oversight. The two entities currently exist in the same building.

Until recently, the CVB also paid a portion of the Chamber director’s salary, in addition to renting space in the Chamber building for its offices.

While the CVB director creates the budget for each fiscal year, the Chamber director oversees all of the finances for both entities.

The two institutions are funded in different ways, though. The CVB relies on funding from the City of Arkansas City and the bed taxes that are collected from hotels in the City limits. The Chamber, while it does receive some funds from the City, collects membership fees from its members.

There is some question as to whether there is an existing contract between the two entities, or if the agreement has lapsed.

The CVB board’s decision on April 25 has created some tension between the CVB director, Pam Crain, and the Chamber director, Sydney Bland.

“Maybe we jumped the gun,” said Commissioner Charles Tweedy III. Tweedy serves as the City Commission’s representative on the CVB board, but he was not involved in the initial conversations about restructuring. He expressed concern about changing policies that have been functioning well.

The CVB and Chamber have experienced great success and growth in recent years, Tweedy said.

“We need to move forward,” said Arty Hicks, who serves as the board’s chair. “There’s no need to wait.”

The CVB board will have to secure board insurance — which would protect the board from any potential legal recourse — should it choose to continue the restructuring process.

In other business May 9, the board:

  • unanimously approved the April 14 regular meeting and April 25 special meeting minutes.
  • heard a treasurer’s report from Crain.
  • heard a report from Crain regarding the activities at the recent Kansas Sampler Festival in Winfield.
  • discussed advertising in the Kaw Lake Guide. The CVB advertises in this guide yearly and approved advertising for next year.
  • unanimously approved the sponsorship of a “Friday Family Movie” — “Jaws,” to be shown June 10 at the Paris Park Pool.
  • authorized a $250 grant for the Strother Field Fly-In, to be held June 18 at the Strother Field airport.

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