Home News Local News City approves Hispano Chamber funding, business service agreement

City approves Hispano Chamber funding, business service agreement

Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcos Nava, at left, watches as someone tries to break a "coronavirus" piñata on Saturday during the Pinãta Festival. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce has been approved for its annual $30,000 of support from the city of Roswell and plans on asking for additional support from the county later this year.

The nine members of the Roswell City Council participating in the Sept. 9 meeting voted unanimously to approve the funding and the business retention service agreement with the Hispano Chamber for at least one year starting July 1, 2021.

The agreement has an option to extend it for another two years if the the city and chamber agree.

“We are thankful and happy that the agreement passed unanimously,” said Hispano Chamber Executive Marcos Nava. “It allows us to move forward for another year. We are looking forward to having a great year.”

Nava had presented an annual report to city councilors during the group’s June 10 meeting. That report indicated that, among other things, the chamber had $29,262 in assets consisting of cash and savings as of April 30.

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It also had net income of $25,164 for January to December 2020. Total income for the year was $66,825, including $24,825 received from the city and $8,950 from membership dues. Total expenses were about $41,661,with $26,295 related to salaries and payroll expenses.

In an interview, Nava said that among the chamber’s recent accomplishments are recruiting new board members. The addition of Alma Salas, director or retail branch operations for Pioneer Bank, was announced Aug. 27. Nava said another new member is expected to join soon.

The group also just held its first Piñata Festival in two years. The Sept. 10-12 event on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn included a religious service, live music, business and nonprofit vendors, kids’ activities and a 9/11 music tribute.

The chamber also offers business training and social events for members throughout the year and is working to strengthen ties with local organizations, including the Roswell Public Library, the Roswell Chamber of Commerce and the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp.

City Public Affairs Director Juanita Jennings said that the city had revised the scope of work portions of its agreements with all its partnering organizations, including the Hispano Chamber.

She said that part of the Hispano Chamber agreement is the allocation of the city’s funding, with 55% to be used for business development and retention, 25% to be used for professional development of their members and 20% for administrative costs, which Jennings said is Nava’s salary.

“They turn in their reports quarterly, on time, with thoroughness, and are just a really great partner to work with,” she said.

City Councilor Margaret Kennard said that she thinks the Hispano Chamber has done a “great job,” but that city staff and specifically the city manager need to monitor such agreements closely.

“We can get lax and I just think it is very important that we hold these contract holders, our partners, accountable,” she said. “I am not trying to diminish what the Hispano Chamber has done. I think they have been a great example, but I think we need to require that of all our partners.”

Nava said during a later interview that the chamber plans to approach the Chaves County Board of Commissioners in December to ask for funding from that group as well. The organization had initially approached commissioners about funding in May 2020, but was advised to work with county staff to develop the type of financial reports the county sought.

“We are now prepared to make our request,” said Nava. “I think we were prepared before, but now we have a better idea of the documents they want.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.