A “Hometown Voices” seminar is slated for Dec. 12 at noon at the Chamber featuring Lamar Norton, who will become executive director of GMA in January, and Tom Gehl, a legislative specialist from GMA.
“We’ve been told we don’t present our issues well,” said City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter, speaking to the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs committee Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Wachsteter hinted that the never-ending flap concerning the U.S. 411 connection to Interstate 75 was a prime example.
“The appropriate parties are apparently not hearing from us. They are hearing from the paid folks for the Rollins family,” Wachsteter said.
He encouraged members of the committee to become more involved in a letter writing effort on behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s D-VE route, which is under continual fire from the Rollins family, who are trying to prevent the bisection of their family ranch for the highway.
The 411 connector is once again at the top of the Chamber’s 2012 Georgia legislative priority list. The number one economic development priority involves state bond funding for the Tennis Center of Georgia at Berry College.
The top tax issue is repeal of the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing. Tom Watters of Syntec Industries called the repeal of the energy tax “vitally important for manufacturers in this community and in this state.”
At the top of the Chamber’s community development agenda is the development of a plan for re-utilization of the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property, which was closed by the state this year.
Also, officials noted that the annual Chamber of Commerce trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal lawmakers from Georgia and their staff has been set for March 7-9, 2012.
The price tag for the trip, ranging from $889 to $1,229 paid by individuals making the trip and not the Chamber, will cost $50-100 less than last year as a result of a move to the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel.
The Chamber delegation has used the tip in the past to lobby Congressman Phil Gingrey and Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss concerning legislative issues important to Rome and Floyd County. The group is expected to meet with Congressman Tom Graves in 2012 because reapportionment makes Graves the incumbent for Rome and Floyd County in the 2012 election.