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Chamber’s director position cut

Pike County Chamber of Commerce executive director Christy Hammons could lose her job after recent budget cuts. ’The drastic budget cut facing the Pike County Chamber of Commerce has forced the directors to restructure in an effort to remain financially sound moving forward,’ said chamber chairman Britain Turner. According to IDA vice chairman John Barker, the IDA was forced to make a substantial reduction in funding to the chamber after county budget cuts for the current fiscal year. The IDA’s budget was cut to $80,000 from $100,000. ’With a $20,000 cut to our budget we’ve had to make decisions,’ he said. The IDA changed its service agreement with the Chamber and either party can request that it be amended within 30 days. It will not be finalized until Aug. 7. According to Turner, the board voted unanimously at its July 24 meeting to create a part-time position. The part-time position was offered to Hammons. ’The previous executive director position was responsible for handling chamber and IDA day-to-day operations,’ said Turner. ‘Due to budget cuts the IDA has been forced to eliminate all services rendered by chamber staff and re-negotiate a new contract in which the sole request is use of chamber facilities such as board room and office spaces.’ The IDA’s role in Pike is to recruit businesses and represent business owners at the legislative and local levels. County manager John Hanson said the commissioner’s office had no hand in the decision to cut the chamber to a part-time position. ’The only connection the commissioners would have is providing the budget for the IDA,’ said Hanson. ‘When we made budget cuts to the IDA, it decided it needed to look at the service agreement with the chamber. The county has nothing to do with the chamber’s budget or administrative moves. That’s an independent, business-oriented association.’

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