The Crossville city council approved the funding of the $40,000 that they promised the Chamber of Commerce last year with some caveats and oversight.
The chamber had brought the proposal to both the city and the county seeking $40,000 each from both governments contingent upon the raising of $120,000 of donations by the chamber as match funds to create a $200,000 fund for economic development following the release of the Horizon Initiative plan.
City council discusses and takes action on funding deal
Crossville mayor James Mayberry moved to release the economic development funds following a report by chamber president and CEO Brad Allamong that they had cash receipts and commitments totaling $132,000. Councilman Pete Souza seconded the motion.
Councilman Danny Wyatt commented that he felt there should be an oversight committee appointed by private donors and the city and county and he would not support it without such a committee. Brad Allamong told the council that the chamber's finance committee was made up of representatives including city finance director Fred Houston as well as county finance director Nathan Brock. In addition, Allamong explained that the donors would be involved in selecting the consultants used for the studies proposed as well.
Councilman Jesse Kerley added that while the chamber says they have commitments for the full amount of funds adding, “in my mind if this money's not in the bank, it's not been raised yet.”
Councilwoman Pam Harris asked Allamong when he thought the funds would be collected? Allamong said the chamber had received $12,000 in checks that day and another large contribution of $10,000 they are expecting as well as a few smaller checks. “We've had 100 percent collections,” added Allamong.
Ms. Harris suggested that the motion be amended to add an oversight committee and collection of the full $120,000 to the original motion.
Mr. Souza said the council could make the adjustments to the motion but said he felt it came down to, “Do we want to support this program or do we not want to support it? I think that what it boils down to.
Ms. Harris stressed, “I want to support this program. My motion would be a compromise that might be more agreeable to the full council. After some discussion, Ms. Harris moved to amend the motion with the addition of the contingencies of collecting the required $120,000 in the bank and formation of an oversight committee. The motion to amend was seconded by Mr. Souza.
The amendment was approved with 4 yes votes. Mr Wyatt voted no saying “because it wasn't stipulated who would appoint the oversight committee.” The vote to approve the motion as amended was the same with 4 ayes and Mr. Wyatt opposed.
Brad Allamong of the Chamber reports to the council prior to the funding discussion.
Just before the action on the funding release request, Mr. Allamong talked to the council about where the Horizon Initiative stands and what the total $200,000 plus will be used for. The plan includes a targeted industry analysis and workforce strategies totaling $120,000, workforce development programs at a cost of $10,000, funding for a basic economic development office that includes a support person and and necessary resources at $48,000 and a feasibility study for a multi-year campaign at a cost of $25,000.
Allamong continued, “The campaign was for some very specific things. We wanted a targeted industry analysis that will give us a professional consultant's look at the resources of Cumberland County, the land, the utilities, the workforce, etc. What are those companies that are in the expansion mode that we could attract and it's in their best interest to be here.”
“Workforce development strategy was another thing we want to do,” said Allamong. “Before we go out and do a bunch of programs, which may well cure some of our workforce ills. Tell us what the strategy is and then the programs follow. The targeted industry with the workforce strategy will tell you that you need to work on bringing these companies here.
In the morning before the council met, the chamber held a media announcement to talk about the Horizon program and funding as well as what they hoped to accomplish.
Chamber's full press conference on the Horizon fundraising program and
what the funds will be used for.