EDC seeks to replace funding

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the heels of its relocation to downtown Troy, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce had notified the Pike County Economic Development Corporation that it will no longer contribute a portion of its membership dues to the Pike County EDC.

EDC President Marsha Gaylard attended the work session of the Troy City Council Tuesday to discuss the recent change in funding from the Pike County Chamber of Commerce to the EDC.

“The Pike County Economic Development Corporation is the local organization responsible for working to assist and support our existing industries and commercial businesses, as well as recruit new businesses to help us grow Pike County,” Gaylard said. “A portion of the Chamber membership dues has always been contributed to the Pike County EDC to help fund our efforts to grow Pike County. Chamber of Commerce dues have always been used for both community development and economic development, even before the EDC was spun off from the Chamber back in 2002.”

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Gaylard said the separation of Economic Development from the Chamber was done in order for the EDC to be able to focus solely on growing Pike County through economic development and allow the Chamber to concentrate on community development issues.

“That way, the EDC and Chamber would not be in competition with each other,” she said.

At that time, the membership dues were divided between the Chamber and the EDC, on a percentage basis with the Chamber receiving about $40,000 of the $65,000 annual dues and the EDC receiving about $25,000.

That loss of annual revenue is now making it necessary for the EDC to solicit funding partners from the community, Gaylard said.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said now is not a good time for the EDC to have to seek funding from businesses in Pike County.

Lunsford said economic development was originally a part of the Chamber organization but, when the one organization became two, the Chamber dues were divided on a percentage basis so the organizations would not compete for funding.

“Now that the Chamber is no longer supporting economic development, the EDC will have to request funding from elsewhere to do its job,” Lunsford said. “This will certainly impact the operation of the Pike County EDC.”

Following the work session, the Troy City Council recognized a large group of special guests at its regular 5 p.m. meeting.

There was a standing room only gathering that included representatives from the Troy Fire Department, CARE Ambulance Service, Troy Regional Medical Center and the honored guests, Destany Gobin and Juanita Wilkes.

Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw recognized Gobin for lifesaving heroism on Valentine’s night 2011.

Outlaw said that he was at home when the call came in to the TFD of an episode at Santa Fe steakhouse.

“A crew of four was dispatched and arrived four minutes after the call,” Outlaw said. “When our crew arrived the victim was being administered CPR by a young waitress at the restaurant. CARE Ambulance arrived about a minute and a half after our crew got there. The victim was shocked and shocked again to get her heart back in rhythm. She was then transported to Troy Regional Medical Center.”

Outlaw praised the EMTs with CARE and the staff at TRMC and said there are no words to say how important the hospital is to the City of Troy.

However, he had special praise for the Troy University athletic training student who began CPR and very possibly saved the life of Pike County resident Juanita Wilkes.

Gobin is from Mobile where her family owns and operates an ambulance service. She is certified in CPR.

“I’d only done CPR on a dummy but I heard the manager say that someone was not breathing and no one was doing anything and I thought that I had to do what I could,

Gobin said.

Wilkes addressed the crowd and told them the Bible say that “Greater love hath no man than, this, that he lay down his life for others.”

“You may not be on foreign soil but every day you give life to others,” she told the gathering of community servants. “Destany gave me life and now I have a journey that I will take every day with Christ holding my hand. How do I say thank you for life?”

The Council then worked from a short agenda that included a look at the 2010 census.

“We knew that the population of Troy was increasing because of the installation of electric meters but we were very pleased to learn that the population of the City of Troy has increased by 29 percent over the past 10 years,” Lunsford said. “In 2000, the population of Troy was 13,935. According to the 2010 census, the population is now 18,033. We are very proud of that.”

The council also declared a list of property surplus so that it may be dispersed and voted to purchase a new trencher for the utilities department. The council also approved an agreement with the Troy Umpires Association to umpire softball and baseball games at the Sportsplex.

Dan Smith, parks and recreation director, told the council that the Miracle Field is scheduled for completion by May 1 with opening ceremonies planned for May 20.