Chamber aims effort at assembly
The Haines Chamber of Commerce’s primary goal this year: Regular participation in local government.
Regular chamber participation at borough meetings and five other priorities were ideas culled from a list generated by about 35 residents at a brainstorming meeting in March aimed at giving the chamber direction.
"It was a good representation of the community we had at the library, and we haven’t had that" in recent years, said chamber president Karl Heinz. "We’re excited to have some direction."
Heinz said participation in local government was chosen as the top priority because it encompassed the other priorities selected by the chamber at a recent board of directors meeting.
"With all of these, it’s going to be working together with the borough that gets things going."
Other priorities selected by the chamber to tackle this year include launching a "Shop Local" campaign; participating in borough efforts to improve signage around town; advocating with the ferry system to talk about Haines before arriving in port to encourage travelers to stop here; participation in efforts to beautify downtown and improve businesses; and involving senior citizens in chamber efforts.
Heinz said the chamber was working on strategies to implement each priority this month. In the meantime, Heinz said, the chamber will have a member present at each assembly meeting.
The larger goal, he said, was to create more effective communication with the borough as the chamber advocated for businesses, and to disseminate information about government decisions affecting local business to chamber members.
"We want to get some sort of communication started between the chamber and the assembly to let them know what ideas and issues are important to our members."
The chamber has yet to determine the most effective method of communicating with borough leaders, Heinz said.
In general, Heinz said, chamber board members would support ideas that encouraged business, but taking an official position on local issues required a board vote.
Drafting a position in advance of meetings is often difficult because of the short turn-around time between posting of borough meeting agendas and assembly meetings, he said.