By JOE BOCANEGRA
Special to the NEWS
San Benito City Commissioners unanimously agreed to approve contracts with the San Benito Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club of San Benito during their regular city meeting Tuesday evening.
The city entered into said contracts Tuesday; however, the term for the Chamber ends by September 2013 whereas the club’s agreement ends one year later on April 15.
Under the terms of the contract with the Chamber, the City plans to develop a business support and retention program which will help promote local business and to help develop potential ones; organize a campaign to “promote, recruit and develop membership” of the Chamber; begin a program to educate members to help grow their business; help the City gather and sort data for planning strategies and for promotional guides and products; and for the executive director or a representative to attend the meetings of the Special Events Board.
The Chamber, however, has remained leaderless for nearly a year as former director Zeke Padilla stepped down from his post last July. According to Mayor Joe H. Hernandez, the matter of filling the director’s seat “will be looked into by the EDC and the (Special) Events Board at a later date.”
Also included in the contract is the agreement that the City will fund the Chamber a maximum amount of $29,400 from the general fund.
Also taken from the general fund will be $45,000 the city has agreed to fund the club to help maintain its operations, with $14,000 for the 2012-13 fiscal year and $31,000 allocated the 2013-14 year.
The club’s contract also states that the funds will be used to help organize team sports programs as well as for basic operations, not to mention assisting the city with information in relation to the development of Stookey Park. The contract stresses that this will be a one-time deal. Tommy Ramirez Jr., president of the Boys and Girls Club of San Benito Board of Directors, said that although he was pleased to receive the financial support of the city he hoped the club could depend on such support in the future as well.
“We’re happy, ecstatic even,” Ramirez said. “We’re quite comfortable with what they gave us. It’s just a matter of fulfilling the programs and keeping records and getting in touch with the commissioners. I just hope that after the year is finished, the commissioners will look things over and see about renewing the contract, because that is what we need. The club needs help from the city in order to run well.”
Hernandez believes the contracts are necessary for the city.
“They needed to be done,” he said. “The city needs to function smoothly, and now with these in place we hope the city can get better.