February 22, 2022 – Statement from the City Council

City of International Falls
Statement from City Council
February 22, 2022


We would like to address some misleading information provided by the Chamber of Commerce in the February 18, 2022 Rainy Lake Gazette article entitled “Chamber Membership to Vote on Dissolution”.  The article provides entirely accurate information, as they used information provided by the Chamber of Commerce; however, we find issue with the following statement, “Our current financial situation was greatly compromised with the succession of the contract with the City of International Falls and the elimination of nearly one-quarter of our annual income which has been difficult to replace amid a pandemic, the economic conditions of our area, and the decline in support of the chamber.”

It is accurate that there was a cessation of the City-Chamber contract; however, it was the Chamber that opted not to seek a new contract for the year 2022.  In June or July of last year, while starting the 2022 budget process, Mayor Droba spoke with Chamber President Tricia Heibel requesting to meet and discuss terms for a 2022 contract. Ms. Heibel stated that the Chamber would be looking to do more of a “project-based approach” and were not seeking a 2022 contract with the City of International Falls.  Mayor Droba suggested that the Chamber request a $5,000 funding placeholder in the 2022 budget, because if they came to the City Council in 2022 and we did not have money budgeted, we likely would have to decline funding any project brought forward.  We were never asked to earmark funds for the Chamber of Commerce in the City of International Falls’ 2022 Budget.

The Chamber was also quoted in the article as saying “Approaching our next fiscal year, we found it difficult to solicit for dues from local businesses when we couldn’t guarantee ROI (return on investment) to our members on their investment.”  From the City’s perspective, we see this as the same reason the Chamber of Commerce did not pursue a contract with the City of International Falls.

We believe that the business community needs to have a business-led voice in the community.

In the event that the Chamber of Commerce does dissolve, we need to make sure the community projects that they have started are able to continue forward.


International Falls City Council
February 22, 2022
City of International Falls, MN

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