YOUNGSVILLE — The City Council decided to heed the attorney general’s advice and get a plan from the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce before allocating funds for the chamber.
Youngsville City Attorney George Knox advised the council to “proceed cautiously” before allowing the chamber to use funds as it wishes.
“I think (the chamber’s) growth is a benefit to Youngsville,” Knox said. “I think they will continue to grow. I just want (the council) to have what the attorney general suggests so that you exercise this cautiously. If we are challenged, we want to be able to defend the decision.”
Angie Eckman, Youngsville Chamber of Commerce president, agreed with Knox, saying the Chamber of Commerce and the council are on the same page.
“We all want what is best for the community,” Eckman said. “We are doing our best to grow our community. We want to make the best decisions possible for everyone involved.”
The issue arose when the chamber requested funding for a full-time executive director. Knox said events, like the annual chamber banquet, provide good opportunities to raise funds and speak to potential businesses.
“The chamber banquet is always heavily attended,” Knox said. “That is a perfect opportunity for us to discuss with our businesses the opportunities we can give them in our city.”
Eckman said she feels like the executive director would be beneficial to the city because she and the chamber already put in plenty of hours as volunteers.
“I think having someone with boots on the ground full time would be mutually beneficial,” Eckman said. “At the end of the day, we just want to build economic development in Youngsville. The council and the mayor want that, too. We are all working for the same cause. We just need to come back and give them a better by-project plan.”
The council agreed with Knox and said it would like plans from the chamber before issuing funds for projects.
Knox said the funds would need to be “project-specific” and made sure the council understood that the funds need to be beneficial to Youngsville as a whole.
“You need to say that the city’s benefit to the project is worth the cost,” Knox said.