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Overton Commission Cuts Chamber Of Commerce Allocation For Coming FY

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton Commission Cuts Chamber Of Commerce Allocation For Coming FY

Overton County Commission approved its budget Monday night, dropping the Chamber of Commerce’s funding to some $21,000.

The chamber had originally asked for about $56,000. Commission Chair Darwin Clark said he voted for the change because, in his opinion, the county wants to focus more on industrial growth headed by County Executive Steven Barlow.

“With him taking on the responsibility he’s going to have to have some additional funding to do some marketing, going out to travel and meet with the businesses and so forth,” Clark said. “We do it yearly. So we may pull it back this year and go back and put it in next year.”

Clark said the commission wants to do what it can for the employees and their families, while still keeping the tax rate low. Budget Committee Member Gregg Nivens agrees, and said the committee tries to go through and prioritize essential departments such as the Sheriff’s Department, E-911, and the ambulance service.

“We’re losing retention on those individuals there and we weren’t able to give a raise like we would’ve liked to,” Nivens said. “And to keep our tax rate low, and he’s talking bout attracting people to Tennesssee why they come here is a low tax rate, it’s the same thing in Overton County.”

Commissioner Donna Savage said that to her understanding, commissioners felt like there needs to be better communication between the chamber and the commission. She said some felt as though they did not know what benefits the chamber provides the whole county.

After the full commission meeting adjourned, Livingston-Overton County Chamber Director of Operations Joe Kalis presented commissioners with all of the work the chamber does both for the city and for the county. He said they want to do a better job to boost the relationship between the city, the county, and the chamber.

“My entire goal is to explain to you guys that we’re doing amazing things for the county and it’s worthwhile to put that money into the chamber,” Kalis said. “A lot of people don’t know what the chamber does (…) Growing revenues, maintaining revenues, making people happy, getting people happy, getting plugged in and talking to you guys more is our dream, that’s our goal.”

Kalis discussed the chamber’s plans for event opportunities, a chamber ambassador program, and membership growth and engagement.


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