The Odessa Record -

By ZACH SCHAFER
President, Odessa Chamber of Commerce 

Future of float depends on community

 

January 17, 2019



The Odessa Chamber of Commerce has undergone the challenging task of creating an operating budget for 2019. As revenues remain flat and expenses continue to rise, we have been forced to make additional budget cuts. In 2018, we were forced to discontinue the $1,000 Tim Suchland memorial scholarship. Sadly, this year we have had to significantly reduce our budget for the community float.

Years ago, the float was its own entity. The people involved in it raised funds and sustained the float by funding repairs, decorations, scholarships, fuel and other expenses that are required to keep the float moving and participating in many parades throughout the region. Somewhere in the past decade or two, things started to derail. Fewer (if any) young ladies have shown interest in the Miss Odessa/float program. Fewer parents have been willing or able to commit the time to the parade and fundraising schedule, and over time the financial burden has fallen solely on the Chamber of Commerce.

Today, we are faced with the harsh reality that the float program is hanging by a thread. It needs three things from the community to continue to operate: Funding for operation costs, young women eager to participate in the program and parents/community members to support these young women by decorating and maintaining the float (as well as transporting them and the float to various parades throughout the region).

The Chamber Board of Directors and general membership certainly do not want the float program to cease, but without additional help and funding it will likely be another line item in a list of things that we no longer have. Any person, group, business, etc., is more than welcome to take this great project on, and we will help in any way we possibly can. If you are interested in helping in any capacity, please contact me or the office of the Odessa Record. Thank you.

 

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