AZTEC — A monthly meeting of the ailing Aztec Chamber of Commerce centered on commitment.

In a second round of meetings to address the future of the city's struggling chamber, Ray Hagerman, CEO of Four Corners Economic Development, led a lunchtime session Monday with 10 business leaders.

Hagerman expressed three options: letting the chamber die, placing it in "cold storage" until another groups steps up to take it over or rebuilding it from its current state.

"The goal over the next 60 to 90 days is to really determine if there is a group that wants to pick up the chamber and actually do something with it," Hagerman said.

Most at Monday's meeting voiced an interest in the third option.

Aztec Mayor Sally Burbridge participates in an Aztec Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday at the Aztec Public Library.
Aztec Mayor Sally Burbridge participates in an Aztec Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday at the Aztec Public Library. (Jon Austria/ The Daily Times)

"I just still have concerns about people being committed," said Kelly Townsend, owner of Mr. Electric and former active board member. "People were fired up (at the last meeting) and said, 'Let's do it,' and a lot of the most vocal members aren't here today. I hate to be a doubter, but I have concerns."

Currently, the chamber has about 80 paying dues members, but only one member sitting on its board of directors, Aztec Ruins Superintendent Larry Turk.

If that's the case, Hagerman said the chamber would need to create a board, find officers and determine its mission and vision.

The idea of combining to form a regional chamber with Farmington and Bloomfield was also discussed.

Turk, though, was blunt about a path forward.

"I think before we get all these grand ideas, we just gotta get real simple here," he said. "Do we have commitment from the community? We need to establish a board -- if we do have commitment from the community -- before we can say where we're going to go, what direction we're going to go. "

Turk's frustration was directed at those who wanted to discuss vision and mission before a board was filled.

Four Corners Economic Development CEO Ray Hagerman speaks during an Aztec Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday at the Aztec Public Library.
Four Corners Economic Development CEO Ray Hagerman speaks during an Aztec Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday at the Aztec Public Library. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

"Right now, the chamber of commerce is me," Turk said. "We need to make a decision. Is this community committed and willing to step up and put in the extra time and hours that (are) needed? "

Former Aztec Chamber Director Christa Rommé, whose position has been vacant since May, echoed Turk's statements on filling a board but also emphasized that the chamber needs a strong mission to draw in members.

Mayor Sally Burbridge, who is an ex officio board member of the chamber and a small business owner, led last month's meeting. This time, she chose to sit in the back of the room.

"For those of you who have stepped forward and said you're willing to fill in as board members, don't wait for somebody to tell you to go," Burbridge said. "There's nobody to tell you to start. Now's the official notice."

A brief silence swept over the room.

"So, congratulations on your new appointment," Rommé joked.

James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.