BAR HARBOR — Members of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce are set to vote next week on proposed changes to the organization’s bylaws. Ballots will be sent to voting members by email Monday, July 18, director Martha Searchfield said, and will be due Friday, July 22.
The chamber staff and board are seeking more flexibility in how they decide to publicize Bar Harbor as the way people get information continues to change. The proposed new language removes the word “guidebook” and instead refers to “digital and print media.”
“We’re trying to get ourselves more aligned with current practices not just for us but for standard practices in the industry,” she said. “We send out our press kits on zip drives now.”
“We have been publishing two guidebooks plus a relocation guide for about six years now, and the process is costly, time consuming and inefficient,” Searchfield wrote to members. “Publishing one guidebook plus a relocation guide will free up income that would be better spent on a higher quality guidebook and more strategic distribution. Also, the chamber currently maintains two websites that incur some separate costs and decrease the visitor/user experience.”
The bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote at any annual meeting of the members or at any special meeting of the members called for that purpose. The reason for the midsummer email vote, Searchfield said, is that production for the next guidebook begins Aug. 1. So she and the board decided to seek approval to stop publishing one of the guidebooks, and the regular annual meeting in October would be too late to do that.
“I know this is a very busy time. I just don’t want to waste money,” she said.
The proposal also includes adding a new “Trade Member” category for business entities that “perform a skilled job, typically one requiring manual skills and special training.” Searchfield said such businesses are currently underrepresented and underserved in chamber activity.
Membership dues have not yet been set for the various membership categories, she said, but dues for Bar Harbor Members will not go up beyond a typical 1-2 percent annual increase.