Before reviewing water and sewer budgets at its work session last Thursday, the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen received a review on its relationship with the Ste. Genevieve Area Chamber of Commerce.

Questions had been raised about the $6,000 annually paid to the chamber at the previous budget session.

Dena Kreitler, executive director of the chamber, and Ron Klein, president of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) both spoke to the aldermen.

“Our mission is to serve as an umbrella organization and we promote the local businesses, art, education, local economic development and different things like that, also to maintain our quality of living here,” Kreitler said.

She said the chamber, which has been in existence for more than 90 years, also works for the county.

She was hired in 2000, when the chamber was part of a joint effort between the city and county, working with the IDC and economic developer Marv Harman. She began as Harman’s assistant.

After his death in 2007, Kreitler said Harman’s position went away, and the chamber has been fulfilling the need for economic development.

She said the chamber is “three-fourths chamber, one-fourth economic development.”

She said she works with the city’s tourism and economic director Sandra Cabot.

“The most important thing in the last two years is the IDC and the chamber have taken on a mission to create a business retention and expansion initiative as well as a housing initiative,” Kreitler said. “Really, we all know we want our population to increase and we can’t do that if we have no homes to live in.”

She said five spec homes have been built since then.

With Mississippi Lime Company and Tower Rock Stone Company facing up to 50 percent turnover rates largely due to retirement, a plan was developed by the IDC to address the issue.

See complete story in the August 14 edition of the Herald.