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Ramage: Council not stalling

Features Editor

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said the city council is not stalling on the request by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce to increase its funding to the chamber, rather they are simply making sure that everyone is still on the same page.

Ramage said his recommendation to the council on May 21 was for a temporary increase from June 2002 until October 2002. However, in making the recommendation, the mayor said he did not realize some of the council members had concerns.

"This is not a big thing," Ramage said. "We carried the request forward because Britt (City Manager Britt Thomas) and I had not had an opportunity to have a meeting with (Troy Mayor) Jimmy Lunsford

and Alton Starling (financial officer for the chamber). We want to discuss the economic development section of the chamber being separate from the other functions of the chamber. We just want to sit down and make sure that the chamber has a true economic development section."

Ramage said the economic development arm of the chamber should include all of those involved in the economic development of the county.

"Everyone needs to be involved – South Alabama Electric, the Pike County Water Authority and the Southeast Alabama Gas District, because Troy and Brundidge are both represented on the gas board," Ramage said. "All of those people need to be represented.

"The economic development section of the chamber needs to take an aggressive approach to attracting commercial and retail business and let the chamber do the things a chamber of commerce normally does."

Ramage described those "things" as working with retail businesses, hosting ribbon cuttings and promoting community events.

The mayor said the city council is not backing away from the request by the chamber.

"We realize that we’ve got to help with the funding if we (Pike County) are going to attract new businesses, like suppliers for Hyundai," he said. "We definitely want to support economic development and we have shared in some good things with the chamber. We are a team member.

"We just have some questions and we want the assurance that everyone is still on the same page. That’s why we want the meeting. It is our intention to get a clarification that what we have been told is still in effect.

"I don’t want a split vote and I also don’t want the council members to vote on something they don’t believe in."

The next meeting of the Brundidge City Council is June 8 and Ramage said the council will vote then on the chamber’s request.

"No doubt about it," he said.