Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture Release Statement on COVID-19 Grant Rejection
The impacts of COVID-19 are of momentous concern for the Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce and the Dillon Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. We adamantly support our businesses, residents, and guests to this area. Furthermore, we believe firmly that the safety of our communities and their residents are the highest priority.
During the first six months of 2020 we have experienced a significant decline in revenue to both the chamber and the CVB due to COVID-19. Most notably, bed tax revenue from our area was down by more than 90% for the first half of 2020. In response to this unpreventable decline in revenue, The Montana Department of Commerce offered all CVB’s and resort areas in Montana supplemental funding through Federal CARES Act dollars they received. The Dillon Area CVB was notified of our eligibility to receive a total of $16,296 as a Tier 1 recipient. This funding was directed toward a scope of work outlined by the MT Department of Commerce through the following statement for all Tier 1 recipients: “… require these tourism partners to disseminate safety messaging content or materials provided by MOTBD or created in conjunction with MOTBD through a variety of methods applicable to that partner. These methods could include production and distribution of printed information to businesses, organizations, or posting in public places frequented by visitors; updating content on websites; social media posts (organic); electronic distribution via email or eblast. Additionally, the tourism partner will assist in local coordination as needed for specific initiatives such as encouragement of employee testing.”
As with any contractual obligation, it is not always possible to document every aspect of each party’s commitment and responsibility. We felt the undocumented commitment included in this scope of work could likely create a significant unfunded liability that we would have to balance when planning for the future needs of the organization and trying to re-open our communities and engage in promoting our area. After much discussion and deliberation, we felt it would be best to focus our talents, time and efforts on subjects that can help move Dillon and our surrounding communities on to the next phase rather than focusing on duplicated distribution of undeveloped and/or unknown messaging. We are also disappointed by the fact that Montana’s smallest CVB’s are not afforded funding to market their communities and their events like the Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 recipients. These two factors led us to believe it was best to refuse the money and focus our attention on what we can do best to support our stakeholders rather than obligate ourselves to a commitment that would severely draw on our limited resources.
As always, the Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture and the Dillon Area CVB, welcome any questions, comments, input and volunteers from the community. Our meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 830a (contact the Chamber at 683-5511 for location specifics).
The Board and Staff of the Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce of Agriculture / Dillon Area CVB