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Chamber Responds To Council Allegations

POSTED January 26, 2012 2:03 p.m.

Oakdale Chamber of Commerce president Chris Elswick has released an official response to the Oakdale City Council’s discussion of the Oakdale Tourism and Business Improvement District. The discussion took place at council’s Jan. 17 meeting, where members spent over 45 minutes discussing the BID and hearing public comment on the question of possible wrongdoing before deciding to hold off making a decision on the issue until a future meeting.

The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce was formerly acting manager of BID funds. When the chamber resigned from this position, the Oakdale City Council requested detailed accounting of BID expenses for every year that the chamber was acting manager. Chamber provided an income/expense report for every year since the founding of the Oakdale Tourism and Business Improvement District. These same reports were given annually to the Oakdale City Council, and were accepted by council resolution at the time. The current council did not consider this a detailed report, and slammed the chamber at the Jan. 17 for their accounting practices.

Current Chamber president Chris Elswick released an official response to comments made at the council meeting. It reads, in part:

“If the City wanted “detailed” expense tracking they should have asked for it then. The City could have set up an invoice payment schedule if it wanted account detail, it did not. The City had ample opportunity over the course of three years to request or modify in any way BID activities, it did not. The City Finance Director was the City’s representative on the BID Commission; if there were requirements of the Resolution or Ordinance he felt were not being addressed he should have said something, he did not. The Chamber is a private entity and does not know or prescribe to City government financing requirements. This is not the first time the Chamber has worked with the City (TOT) in finance reporting. Our past accounting methodology for the City has not changed. For anyone today to say that the Chamber “should have known” and “done more” are both disingenuous and just plain buck-passing expectations,” Elswick wrote.

The council is scheduled to discuss the issue further at a meeting scheduled one month from Jan. 17.

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