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IDA, Chamber to work on contract agreement

POSTED: March 3, 2014 9:26 p.m.

Effingham Industrial Development Authority members tabled action on their contract with the Effingham Chamber of Commerce. But IDA members backed the relationship between the two organizations.

The IDA and the Chamber have had a contract that calls for the IDA to pay the Chamber $45,000 a year. In return, the Chamber maintains a database of existing industries and corporate contacts and it administers ongoing services to such industries as need. Chamber staff members also act as liaisons during IDA prospect visits.

At this year’s Effingham Day at the Capitol, the Chamber had several local industries display their products and services.

“We heard nothing but great things about how good the industry presence made it,” Chamber Director Rick Lott said. “We’re glad we can still host this event.”

IDA vice chairman Chap Bennett said he liked having local industries represented at Effingham Day at the Capitol.

“I thought they gave a connection to who we are and what we have,” he said.

Lott added that the Chamber-sponsored activities also serve several functions.

“Some events go toward building a quality of life,” he said. “Others go toward building lines of communication between the cities and the county.”

Lott also spelled out the details for a planned Chamber job fair to be held April 15, which will include such Effingham businesses as Georgia-Pacific, CST Covers, EFACEC and Lineage.

“We’re getting a lot of good feedback about this event,” Lott said.

Approximately 70 percent of Effingham’s workforce leaves the county each day for jobs.

“This is a concerted effort to have local industries keep more of the workforce at home,” Lott said.

IDA member Dick Knowlton, who once led the Savannah Economic Development Authority, also lauded the connection between the Effingham IDA and the Effingham Chamber.

“We didn’t have the kind of relationship with the Chamber that we have here,” he said, “and I’m envious. It’s really the right kind of relationship. It’s not smoke and mirrors. Without it, our job would be more difficult.”

IDA CEO John Henry said the executive committees from the IDA and Chamber will go over the contract and the scope of work before bringing it back to the board members for a vote.

“Your Chamber works because the partnership works,” Lott said.

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