THAYER -- The Thayer Chamber of Commerce met March 18 at Los Potrillos Restaurant. They had two invited guest speakers, Thayer Police Chief David Bailey and Thayer Wastewater Treatment Manager Mike Alexander.
Before the guests spoke, Chamber President Faith Holt gave a brief Chamber update.
"Pat Hines, a volunteer at Fun and Friends Senior Citizen Center has made pot holders with Thayer written on them and donated them to the Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Center. We will be selling them and all proceeds will go toward the senior center building fund," she said.
The chamber discussed Dogwood Daze which will include the usual golf tournament and yard sales. It is planned for May 2.
"For a new event this year, during the holiday season, the chamber will be hosting a Holiday Tour of Homes at Thayer and at Mammoth Spring. People can purchase tickets for just the Thayer homes or just the Mammoth Spring homes, or both. All proceeds from this event will go toward the local Shop with a Cop Program," Holt said.
There should be five or six homes included in both towns and the tour is planned for Dec. 6, the day following the Thayer Christmas Parade. The tour hours are planned for 1-5 p.m. Following the Holiday Tour of Homes there will be caroling and refreshments at the Episcopal Church in Mammoth Spring.
Holt announced that chamber member Dr. Howard Mainprize has been updating the chamber web site. "It really needed upgrading and modernization," Holt said.
The Chamber will be hosting an Open Candidate Forum April 1 at Los Potrillos starting at 5 p.m. All candidates seeking office in the city have been invited. Each will be given five minutes to speak and there will be a question and answer session.
Chief Bailey then spoke to the chamber about Proposition C which is a designated law enforcement tax that will be on the April Election ballot.
"When city leaders approached me last summer about taking the job as police chief, one of the areas they mentioned was bringing the department up to a higher level. I hope we have made progress," Bailey said.
Bailey said his department is at a crossroads and it all comes down to money.
"We currently operate on a budget of approximately $280,00 a year. With this budget we are just hitting the high spots. Proposition C which is asking for one/half of one percent tax increase would not be going for increased salaries for police officers. Right now, the citizens of Thayer are getting a bargain for the police services our department is offering and what our officers are getting paid," he said.
If the tax passes it would go for training and equipment such as weapons and patrol cars.
"Currently all of our officers are paying their own tuition for law enforcement training which costs about $6,000. They are also supplying their own weapons. Most of them start out at an average pay of $8 an hour," the chief said.
"We currently have a good staff and enough officers as long as nobody gets sick or wants a vacation. We are the only 24-7 police department anywhere in our area besides West Plains," Bailey said
Some of the needed improvements Bailey touched on were patrol vehicles, radios, firearms, jail upgrades and training.
"The question is what type of police department do the residents of Thayer want? With our current funding, we are not going to get any better," he said.
Alexander spoke briefly to the chamber concerning the how important the passage of Proposition's A and B are that will also be on the April ballot.
He said if the wastewater treatment plant was not upgraded there would be the possibly the city would not have its users permit reinstated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.