Chamber merger: We want your opinion |

Chamber merger: We want your opinion

Duane Wallace and Kathy Farrell

Dear Members of the South Shore Chambers and South Shore Community:We are certain you have heard at least something about the proposed merger of the Tahoe-Douglas and South Lake Tahoe Chambers of Commerce. The process has been long and complex with an extraordinary amount of time and energy devoted to researching the feasibility and advisability of such a merger.

What we would like to do now is provide a brief summary for your consideration with an eye toward this Thursday and next Tuesday when the respective boards vote on the merger. Both meetings are open to the public.

The concept is that we are one community with one economy and with the same goals. By dividing our efforts due to the state line we waste time and resources such as the hard-working volunteers who have been such a big part of the success of the two chambers of commerce over the past 50 years. Our two Chambers share 350 members in common with each other. We do joint mixers and joint seminars. We have cooperated to form a TRPA pathway 2007 monitoring group. And, for the last four years we have conducted a highly successful joint Leadership Lake Tahoe program. We have worked together well.

With those things in mind the boards of directors of the Tahoe-Douglas and South Lake Tahoe chambers created a joint merger committee to examine the advisability and feasibility of merging into a single chamber. That involved the work of the two chamber finance committees in preparing a proposed budget. In order to be accessible to the largest number of people, community meetings have been held to gather input. The community meetings were held at breakfast, lunch and after-hours sessions. Now the two chamber boards are prepared to vote.

The following is the proposed motion before the two boards in its entirety:

The motion is to merge the two chambers of commerce to form a single chamber. The priorities of the chamber will be member services, business support, and government and regulatory regulations. There will be chamber offices in both California and Nevada. The Nevada location will also be the chamber administrative office. The present visitor center functions of the two chambers will be assumed by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority as soon as is reasonably practical, subject to board approval. The agreement with the LTVA will specify improved visitor center representation for chamber members desiring placement of promotional materials. Further, the executive directors/CEOs are directed to in cooperation, implement a practical and best effort plan and timeline for the merger that is consistent with the proposed budget. The motion is subject to successful negotiation of all funding contracts/agreements and building leases.

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The motion will be before the South Lake Tahoe board on Thursday at 8 a.m. at Harrah’s and before the Tahoe-Douglas board on Tuesday at 8 a.m. at Inn By The Lake.

Your opinion matters. Please let us know your thoughts and concerns. For more information go to the Web site at To send in messages please go to

– Duane Wallace is executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. Kathy Farrell is executive director of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce.