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Publication Date: Friday, April 26, 2002

Chamber gets rent reprieve from council Chamber gets rent reprieve from council (April 26, 2002)

By Bill D'Agostino

In a rare reversal of recently made policy, the city council decided to let the chamber of commerce continue have their city-owned land for a nearly free rent.

Since 1962, the Chamber of Commerce's building sat on city land and paid virtually no rent while the city got services, such as a visitor's bureau, in return, according to Chamber Director Carol Olson.

In February of 2002, the city council unanimously denied a request to pay the chamber of commerce for the services they provided for the city despite the fact that the chamber was about to get a rent increase of $10,000 a year.

At the time, Olson asked the city to either pay for their services or to remove the rent increase. The council, however, denied the request.

But Council member Ralph Faravelli _ who said on Tuesday that he didn't completely realize what he had voted in February _ asked the council to reconsider the agreement on Tuesday. All members but Council member Rosemary Stasek changed their vote to give the chamber a one year reprieve on their rent increase.

Stasek said she felt the proposed rent _ of approximately $833 a month _ wasn't too much to ask from the chamber for the prime piece of real estate.

But Faravelli countered that the chamber's services were vital and "very, very important part of any great city that's growing."

The council also agreed to establish an ad hoc committee to explore the tangled relationship between the city and the chamber.


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