The Board was updated on the selection process for a new President. Dowell Management will release the opening on December 1. Interviews will begin in February with a new person selected by mid April with expectations that they will begin June 5.
The Chamber health insurance premium increased 14.5%. The Chamber will change to Group Health Cooperative thus saving the employees and the Chamber money.
The nominating committee, past Board Chairs, will meet to select six members to serve three year terms beginning April 1, 2017. Tim Benedict, Benedict Refrigeration and Laura Talley, BMO Harris Bank, are completing their first three year terms and they will need to be re-elected as they will be serving in leadership positions. The ballot will be emailed to the main contact of each member business.
The Chamber has tracked the Storm Water Utility fee since it’s inception in 1996. The cost began at $25 per ERU (Equivalent Run Off Unit). Each home is one ERU and there are approximately 42,000 ERU’s in Eau Claire. The original plan was to have the rate be $100 by the year 2000. The Chamber worked with the City, DNR and local legislators to evaluate what was paid for in the rate. As a result the rate for 2017 will be the same as 2016 at $90 per ERU. This is paid quarterly on your water/sewer bills.
The Chamber monitors the ½% sales tax collected by the County. In 2000 the County needed $1 million to balance their budget and wanted to add the ½% tax. The Chamber had always opposed this tax but agreed to not oppose it if at least 75% of the tax goes to property tax relief. In 2000 that amounted to approximately $5 million dollars. It has stayed between 78% and 92% over the years for property tax relief. For 2017 the County is budgeting $9.6 million due to the growth of retails sales, which now are just over $2 Billion. The County will apply 83% of that to property tax relief, which amounts to $172 on a $134,000 valued home. The Chamber will continue to work with the County and monitor this tax. The Chamber appreciates the County’s efforts towards property tax relief.
The Chamber will be impacted, along with every non-profit and thousands of small businesses in the US, by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) which will require overtime pay to anyone making $47, 474 or less a year, $913 a week. The Chamber has made adjustments with Chamber staff to compensate for the new law.
The Chamber Board will conduct their Strategic Planning session on December 20 to build the Business Plan for April 1, 2017 under the leadership of Tim Benedict, Benedict Refrigeration.
Fifty-one people participated in the Chamber trip to China in late October.
The Chippewa Chamber Alliance will meet to develop the issues for the Chippewa Valley Rally which will be January 25, 2017. All three Chamber Boards will approve the issues at the December meetings.
The Board received reports on: Small Business Saturday, which is November 26. The Young Professionals group will also be working on a state wide initiative for a YP week in late April. The Business EXPO had over 2000 people attending and the Real Life Academy will host 330 students.