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IDA renews pact with Chamber
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority has renewed its professional services agreement with the Effingham Chamber of Commerce.

There were no major revisions to the existing pact between the IDA and the Chamber, according to IDA CEO John Henry, with only changes in wording and some clarification. One of the changes included the provision that calls for the Chamber to coordinate with the IDA in promoting Effingham outside the county through marketing with rack cards and other means.

"We wanted some specificity to that, some clarification," Henry said.

Under the contract, the Chamber also will maintain a database of existing industries and essential corporate contacts and administer ongoing services to such industries as needed. Those services include contact with all industries in the database on at least an annual basis, providing information through local, state and federal resources and surveys addressing needs specific to the industrial community.

"One of the biggest things we have talked about is going out and calling on existing industries," said IDA member Chap Bennett. "It is difficult to go out and call on four or five different companies in a couple month period and sit down with them and find out what they need."

Also as part of the agreement, the Chamber will have staff members serve as a liaison during visits and meetings the IDA has prospective industries. The Chamber also will send a representative to act as a contact for incoming industries to assist them in their transition to the community.

"We may find other things like that and ask them to take other things we have historically done to free up time to do the things we are in business for," said IDA member Dick Knowlton.

The Chamber’s existing industry committee has met with EFACE and Flint River Services, and the governmental affairs committee has established this year’s legislative priorities. The Chamber also has formed a committee to push for passage of the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, set up by the Transportation Investment Act, in July, and one of the current Leadership Effingham class’ groups is working on TSPLOST issues.

Under the contract, the IDA will pay the Chamber $45,000 for its services. The Chamber’s board of directors will meet Thursday.

Former IDA member Arthur Rud reiterated his longstanding opposition to the deal with the Chamber.

"I’ll be speaking against this until the day I die," he said.