This is a key function that supports the Chamber's mission of creating an environment in which businesses can prosper. The Chamber partners with the California Business Development Center (CBDC) to offer free or low cost workshops for small businesses, as well as small business counseling. The Chamber partners with the Sonoma County Tourism Program and the DoubleTree Hotel to promote the city to visitors and tourists.
Over one-third of the city's operating budget is comprised of income from sales taxes, business fees and hotel room tax (TOT) paid by overnight visitors. These sources of income contribute significantly to paying for city services such as police and fire, street maintenance, recreation, and other services. Under a contractual partnership with the city, the Chamber wrote the city's first economic development plan and is responsible for carrying it out.
Business, Resident and Visitor Information Center
Highly trained staff members provide information of all kinds to local residents and people visiting Sonoma County. The Chamber's offices are a source of free printed materials including maps, brochures, travel magazines, food and wine references, public transportation schedules, business information and resource, demographics, real estate publications, school information, entertainment and event listings. Annually visitors stop at the Chamber. The Chamber prints the official city map, which is available at the Chamber.
The Chamber is a local advocate for member businesses and lobbies on the local, regional and state level on issues and legislation that affect the business community. These roles of advocate and lobbyist are accomplished through building relationships with elected officials and educating them in the needs and positions of the local business community. The Chamber leverages its influence and effectiveness by joining forces with Marin and Sonoma County chambers on regional issues, and with the California Chamber of Commerce on statewide issues.
Some of the regional issues the Chamber has been involved in are transportation, housing, land use, resource conservation, and education. On the local level it has participated in implementing the city's General Plan through writing ordinances, contributing to specific plan areas such as the proposed University Square and the new city center; taking a leadership role in solving the affordable housing dilemma; supporting Sonoma State University Music Center; lobbying for golf course improvements; being a spokesperson for business expansion; and leading the way in bringing together University students and the business community. The Chamber participated in creating the General Plan and was instrumental in helping to pass the Urban Growth Boundary ballot measure.