Chamber Funding

Last October, Dothan City Commissioners voted to drop the Chamber of Commerce from the city's budget for the 2003 fiscal year.

A blue ribbon committee made up of former Dothan mayors has recommended that the city restructure the money it provides to the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

The panel was chaired by former Mayor Larry Register. He told city commissioners the group reviewed existing audits and determined 55 percent of the chamber's funding came from public sources, while 45 percent was from private donations.

The City of Dothan gave $240,000 last year to fund "Dothan By Design," a program intended to recruit new industry.

But Register said the panel concluded that taxpayer dollars were often used to cover the chamber's personnel costs.

The panel recommended Dothan city commissioners reduce out-right chamber funding to only $50,000.

Another $175,000 would go into a special fund that chamber officials could draw from but only after discussing with city officials how the money would be used.

Chamber officials have declined comment until they can study the panel's report.