Published 12:00 am Monday, December 14, 2015

Board approves funding for promoting Sardis

By Rupert Howell
The Sardis board of mayor and alderman went ‘round and ‘round with Sardis Chamber of Commerce president Dale Hart during a recess meeting that resulted with a unanimous decision to fund approximately half of Hart’s request for funds to market and promote Sardis business along with sponsoring a Sequicentinial celebration.
The chamber’s original proposal sought approximately $38,000 from the city’s tourism fund to pay for both marketing the town’s strong points and events surrounding the 150 year celebration.

A motion by Alderman Tommy Rayburn during the regular meeting December 1 to approve $30,000 of the $38,000 request failed 2-3 when alderman Jojo Still said he thought savings could be found within the numbers.
Rayburn made a similar motion during the December 8 special meeting with Still seconding, but the motion failed again when aldermen Bonnie Smith, Boo-Boo Jones and Roy Scallorn voted nay.

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Smith asked Hart if the proposal wasn’t two separate issues—one for the marketing and one for the Sequicentianneal celebration?

“Can we separate the two?” Smith asked.

Hart later said that with the $20,000 level approved, “We don’t have the money to do that (manage the sesquicentennial).”

“We should put this money into marketing the town and the businesses, some who are struggling to make it,” Hart stated.

Aldermen agreed to the $20,000 budget with the stipulation that each expenditure must have board approval. The figure represents approximately one-sixth of the year’s total tourism taxes collected. The tourism fund balance is currently $192,692.

Hart had said repeatedly that none of the funds go to the Chamber, but will be used to promote Sardis and it’s businesses. The Sardis Chamber is run by volunteers and has no paid staff. Hart’s wife, Penny, serves as Chamber manager taking care of day-to-day duties and communications.