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Sunday February 7th, 2016 3:40AM

Chamber continues push for Hall economic development $$$

By by Ken Stanford
GAINESVILLE - The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce continued Thursday pushing for $100,000 in economic development funds from the Hall County commission on the same day the commission approved the allocation but without specifying who is to use it.

The commission, in approving the new county budget Thursday morning, included the funds, but left undecided whether they will be used by the county or the chamber, which has been the case in recent years.

Chamber officials have lobbied in recent weeks for continued use of the funds by its Economic Development Council (EDC), but some commissioners would like to see the money used through a possible arm of county government.

Dick Valentine, the outgoing chairman of the chamber's board of directors, Thursday continued to lobby for use of the money by the EDC.

"We had a very strong (economic development) year last year," Valentine declared at the board's monthly meeting.

To back up that assertion, board members and others at the meeting, including commission vice-chairman Roger Cole, one of the commissioners who has questioned EDC use of the money, were given a four-page handout, which included, among other things, the EDC's history, its mission, operations, and finances, as well as a 51-point outline of what was described as the EDC's "programs and benefits to the community."

Among the points it makes: the EDC "actively solicit(s) new commercial/industrial and other businesses to (the) community...emphasizing high paying jobs," attends "targeted trade shows" for propspective company locations, hosts the Red Carpet Tour (a Georgia Chamber of Commerce industry-hunting event which will visit Gainesville next spring), meets with local realtors on a regular basis, studies and educates the public on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax campaigns, and reports "on a timely basis the results and activites of EDC to participating governments and (the) business community."

The EDC has been getting funding from not only Hall County, but the cities of Oakwood, Flowery Branch, and Gainesville.
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