The local chamber with the help of fundraising firm Funding Solutions has been seeking pledges from the business community in recent weeks as it starts a new five-year plan called Forward Walker County. With a five-year goal of $700,000, the chamber must receive pledges totaling at least $140,000 per year.
The commission’s pledge goes a long way in meeting the annual goal for the first year.
“We need the support of the county,” said chamber president Linda Lewis during the commission meeting early last week. “An ongoing dialogue between us is invaluable as we work together to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Walker County.”
Forward Walker County calls for continued focus on retail and commercial growth, education and workforce readiness, tourism and image and leadership and county engagement.
I applaud Commission Chairman Billy Luster for his efforts in working with the chamber since being elected to his current position last year.
And he doled out accolades during last week’s meeting. “Our chamber does so much for our county. I don’t know how we couldn’t support its efforts,” he said.
Many folks do not realize the magnitude of financial responsibilities that are laid upon our chamber of commerce. Whether it is hosting a national fishing tournament or promoting retail growth, the chamber is the primary funding arm of many events that bring either tourism or tax dollars to our community.
I am hopeful that the commission will continue this level of support in years 2-5 of the chamber’s five-year plan, bringing its total Forward Walker County pledge to $250,000.
Only time will tell.
While I realize the county’s budget is tight and the commission will need to review its pledge annually, I also realize the chamber does more to promote Walker County than any other agency here.
Jack McNeely is publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and also serves as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County. He may be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.