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The City Journals

City to save $38,000 a year with chamber switch

Feb 28, 2019 03:19PM ● By Erin Dixon

West Jordan City is no longer a part of the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce. Funds are now going to ChamberWest. (Erin Dixon/City Journals)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Early in January 2019, the West Jordan City Council voted to appoint ChamberWest as its official chamber of commerce. Formerly, the West Jordan Chamber had a contract with the City that ended mid-2018. 

In a recent press release, West Jordan City officials explained the decision for the change as a financial one, as well as a chance to refocus on goals for economic development.

“In August 2018, the City Council requested the Economic Development Department reevaluate the city’s chamber service agreement,” according to the press release. “As a result, the city drafted a request for proposal aimed to maximize public funds and look at the city’s economic goals. After going through the RFP/bid process, ChamberWest was selected as the official chamber of commerce on Jan. 9.”

City leaders will give the new chamber $10,000 annually to support its efforts, rather than the $48,000 it was giving the West Jordan Chamber.  

Last year, relations began to change between the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce and city officials.

Aisza Wilde, West Jordan Chamber president and CEO said the changing nature of their relationship was affecting each organization.

“[W]e had expressed some concern about some changes [city leaders were] planning on making concerning utility rates and business license fees,” Wilde said. “[T]hey felt that our role should be to support them and to report to the business community why they were making these changes, rather than communicate to the city how those changes would impact the businesses. 

Understandably, that contract was a considerable amount of money, and when you pay somebody a lot of money, they should do what you want them to do.” 

Even though the money city officials contributed was a significant portion to the Chamber’s budget, Wilde said the chamber has continued to find support from their members. 

“We don’t see this change as something that will affect what we do or how we operate moving forward,” she said. “Just because the government decided to make a change, doesn’t mean our association will change what we’re doing. 

Since the decision has been made, there’s a misconception that the West Jordan Chamber is going away. We’re moving forward; we feel that it’s working very well and getting great support.” 

According to ChamberWest President Barbara Riddle, lots of West Jordan businesses have contacted them since West Jordan’s announcement. 

“We offer so many programs — along with regional representation — I am confident many of those businesses will join us as well,” she said.

ChamberWest serves businesses in West Valley, Taylorsville, Kearns and West Jordan. A total of 5,000 businesses are a part of the chamber, ranging from contractors to senior living centers.

In the press release, Riddle outlined what ChamberWest would do for West Jordan.

“We believe partnerships and collaboration between businesses, community members and civic leaders are key to strengthening our region,” Riddle said. “We offer strong programs benefiting businesses of all sizes, represent the interest of business with government, promote the community, build business relationships and engage in political action.” 

West Jordan City Economic Development Director Kent Anderson is pleased with the new partnership. ChamberWest will do more lobbying work for city businesses. 

“Something I am uniquely excited about is ChamberWest’s Legislative Affairs Committee,” he said. “The committee is made up of a broad array of business types and sizes, as well as governmental entities, who discuss and take positions on state legislature bills that affect chamber members. 

This committee has the ability to significantly influence bills that affect ChamberWest members, which includes the city of West Jordan.” 

Also in the press release, Mayor Jim Riding stated that he is looking forward to working with ChamberWest. 

“ChamberWest is well respected and knows how to work effectively and develop productive partnerships with the business community and civic and political leaders,” he said. 

Carl Fauver also contributed to this story.