By Tia Lynn Lecorchick editor

The Rutledge City council debated a recent request from Bob Hughes, president of the Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce, suggesting the city increase it’s annual dues from $1000 to $1500 for the fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015 on June 16 at their monthly meeting. “We will continue to provide support to our Rutledge members whether there is an increase in funding or not, but the additional amount will help us defray our cost of operations,” wrote Hughes. The city of Rutledge has traditionally sponsored 10 downtown businesses that may otherwise not belong to the chamber, but members of the council questioned is sponsoring 10 businesses out of the estimated 50 businesses in Rutledge is truly fair.

“I can’t see why we should sponsor some and not all. And since we definitely cannot afford to sponsor all the businesses, should we be sponsoring 10 of them?” asked Brenda Thomspon, city council member. “I don’t think it is fair to pay for some and not for all, but we can’t do all. Is there a way to continue supporting the chamber without sponsoring specific businesses?” asked Chad Cook, city council member.

“We need to find out if we can still support the chamber to get the benefits of advertising without paying for business’ dues.” The council plans on gathering more information about the issue before rendering a decision. City Clerk Debbie Kilgore said she would include the requested increase in her upcoming budget proposal for FY 2014-2015 for the council to evaluate and decide whether or not to comply with the chamber’s request.