After a work session with Delta Area Chamber of Commerce representatives, the Delta City Council has agreed to consider amending the contract for the city-owned building at 3rd & Meeker to allow the chamber to sublet a portion of the building.
The chamber has rented office space on the second floor to one of its members, MM&D Engineering, since November 2010, and considers the income essential for its continued operation in the community, executive director Kami Collins explained at the work session.
The presence of MM&D in no way diminishes the services of the chamber, Collins stressed.
City manager Justin Clifton brought the issue to the city council's attention. He said the lease agreement with the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce limits use of the premises to office and visitors' information functions. Any other use requires written consent of the city council, acting as the Delta Urban Renewal Authority, which purchased and improved the "Last Chance" building during a major downtown improvement project in the late '80s. The city council acts as the DURA board.
Clifton noted there is a precedent for disallowing a sublease to a third party without prior consent. In looking through files, he discovered a letter from former city manager Lanny Sloan asking the chamber to cease serving as a Greyhound Bus depot in 2008.
During the work session, council considered the city's liability and the impact of income on the building's tax exempt status. Maintenance was also discussed.
Councilmember Mary Cooper pointed out the city is paying for utilities in that building, a benefit which extends to a private business. Another councilmember observed there's plenty of space available on Main Street, and questioned if the chamber should be competing with its members.
And while the city has been helping out with maintenance, the lease agreement states that responsibility actually belongs to the chamber.
The chamber has the option of purchasing the building for $1, but has never exercised that option.
City staff was directed to research several of the questions that came up during the work session before the contract is amended to allow the "grandfathered" sublease.blog comments powered by Disqus