Kodiak Chamber of Commerce will end its annual contracts to provide economic development service to local governments on April 30.
The chamber sent a letter earlier this month to the Kodiak Island Borough and city of Kodiak invoking the contracts’ early termination clauses, rather than continue to the June 30 end.
Chamber executive director Trevor Brown said the chamber board decided on the change at its March 17 meeting.
“We just re-evaluated our contract and the difficulty we’ve had doing that the last several years,” Brown said. “What’s going on right now isn’t working.”
The city and borough each paid $43,000 under the contracts. Of the borough’s contribution, $3,000 went to travel for village representatives members of a group conducting a comprehensive economic development study, Brown said.
The borough has renewed the contract yearly since 1994. The city came aboard in 1996. Prior to that, the borough employed its own specialist.
The assembly has discussed reviving the position.
Brown said the chamber has experienced high turnover in the economic development specialist position mainly responsible for working with the city and borough. Rebecca Skinner left the job in February after six months. Her predecessor left last July.
“It’s a tough position to fill,” Brown said.
The chamber currently employs three full-time staffers and adds a part-time position to help with the annual ComFish trade show and Crab Festival.
Brown named promotion of the rocket launch facility, cold storage and regional branding as projects the chamber has worked on with the local governments. But he added there had been some difficulty with communication.
“We would have preferred to have had more direction from the borough and city,” Brown said.
City manager Aimée Kniaziowski, an ex-officio member of the chamber board, acknowledged there had been some recent frustration in the relationship. She said the city had held conversations with the chamber about “beefing up” inducements for people and businesses to relocate to Kodiak.
“The terms of the contract hadn’t been specific to things like that,” she said.
Brown said the chamber will still work with the borough and city on generally improving the local business climate and on particular projects that may arise.
“The basic stuff we will continue to do for our membership, which will benefit the community,” he said.