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IDA, Chamber renew contract
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority has continued its contract with the Effingham Chamber of Commerce, following a unanimous vote by the IDA board.

IDA CEO John Henry said the IDA attempted for about three years to put a dollar figure on services the Chamber provides.

“We tried to equate it to an exact dollar amount,” he said.

Henry said there are no changes to the contract, which calls for the IDA to pay the Chamber $45,000 annually. For its part, the Chamber maintains a database of existing industries and corporate contacts, and it administers ongoing services to such industries as needed. Chamber staff members will serve as liaisons during visits and meetings with IDA prospects.

The IDA and Chamber agreed to a $45,000 level two years ago, cutting it from $50,000.

Henry also said the IDA is getting its money’s worth from its deal with the Chamber.

“To what we’re getting provided by the Chamber and a two-person staff, I would have to hire another person and I wouldn’t get the benefits of Effingham Day at the Capitol. It would cost me in excess of what we pay for this contract.

“I personally feel it is a worthwhile value.”

IDA vice-chairman Chap Bennett said the pact’s benefits go beyond the IDA’s benefits from Effingham Day at the Capitol and the community retreat.

“Deeper than that, it’s the everyday stuff,” he said. “If you layer it all through the year, the numbers add up. This gives you a pretty good feel for the responsibilities on both sides.”

IDA member Dick Knowlton said that as a site selector, he would not recommend a community where there wasn’t a positive vibration in the business community.

“In our community today, there’s a good feeling,” he said. “That aspect to your search is positive. I think we are receiving very fine service for our investment.”

The IDA also has a seat on the Chamber board, and the Chamber board is adding a representative from industry, after Chamber Director Rick Lott suggested it to Henry.

“The IDA is very well represented in Chamber affairs,” Henry said.

Lott said the Chamber’s Effingham Day at the Capitol was one of the best in some time and the Chamber also is anticipating holding the third annual Taste of Effingham.

“It’s going to be a good event,” he said.

Lott also said Chamber membership is starting to climb again.