Denton must rethink its relationship with the Chamber of Commerce | Columnists

The Denton Chamber of Commerce just lately moved out of a constructing on Parkway Avenue listed on Denton County tax data as metropolis of Denton property, and into Denton’s new Improvement Providers workplace. The shut relationship between the town and the chamber goes again at the least 100 years.

When School of Industrial Arts (present-day Texas Lady’s College) President Marion Bralley referred to as for the elimination of Quakertown residents “in a enterprise method,” Denton’s Chamber of Commerce unanimously agreed. In 1927, six years after Denton forcibly eliminated Quakertown residents from the middle of the town, Denton constructed a brand new Metropolis Corridor with places of work for the chamber.

America Chamber of Commerce is now not a cash-strapped funnel cake-making group. In line with Enterprise Insider, Thomas Donahue vowed to remodel the nationwide group to “the largest gorilla … probably the most aggressive and vigorous enterprise advocate our nation has ever seen” when he took the helm in 1997. Beneath Donahue’s management, the main focus shifted from native companies to legacy firms — banking, tobacco, and oil and fuel.

In line with, the U.S. Chamber was the most important political marketing campaign contributor till the Nationwide Realtors Affiliation surpassed it in 2021. The U.S. Chamber is among the largest spenders of darkish cash, or undisclosed donor political spending. In line with the Denton Document-Chronicle, Denton’s 2020 and 2021 council races had loads of Realtor affiliation and undisclosed donations.

Town of Denton funds about 75% of the chamber’s $2.2 million annual price range. The chamber will get 51% of the resort occupancy tax funds. The remaining HOT funds are divided between 19 teams to boost tourism, arts and cultural occasions. The chamber makes use of a few of its funds to pay six-figure salaries, that are uncommon in Denton.

Though financial improvement just lately grew to become a nationwide pattern, Denton’s Financial Improvement Partnership with the Chamber of Commerce started in 1987. The chamber’s financial improvement partnership receives extra funds from Denton Municipal Power income. EDP member buyers are the highest 20 enterprise taxpayers, however different companies pays to play for $500 to $2,500. All of them get a seat on the desk with metropolis employees and two Metropolis Council members. Denton’s EDP is admittedly part of the chamber.

Financial improvement is nice for cities, however Denton’s EDP results in overdevelopment, visitors and air pollution. Overdevelopment for personal achieve with out contemplating long-term adverse penalties impacts Denton negatively.

The road between metropolis officers and chamber officers who aren’t elected is blurred. Now that chamber officers have places of work throughout the metropolis, there’s no want to fret in regards to the Texas Open Conferences Act, besides at conferences, lengthy after conversations about agenda gadgets.

To make sure, the Denton Chamber of Commerce is vital, however metropolis employees fails to steadiness the chamber’s voice with the remainder of the town. Town of Denton must reevaluate its relationship with the Chamber of Commerce.

Residents of Denton who pay taxes deserve a greater voice.

ANNETTA RAMSAY, Ph.D., has lived and labored in Denton for a few years.

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