Commissioners voted Monday to increase the group’s funding to $50,000. The vote came after a presentation on the Forward Walker County five-year plan by Chamber President Linda Lewis and Fred Mickelson of Funding Solutions. The plan calls for continued focus on retail and commercial growth, education and workforce readiness, tourism and image and leadership and county engagement.
“We need the support of the county,” Lewis said.
The annual budget for Forward Walker County is set at $140,000.
“Our five-year plan has a budget of $700,000,” Lewis said. “We are asking for $250,000 over that period of time from the county.”
Lewis said a partnership between the commission and the chamber is vital to area citizens.
“An ongoing dialogue between us is invaluable as we work together to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Walker County,” she said.
Commission Chairman Billy Luster said he has worked closely with the chamber since taking office last year.
“I’m impressed by the work that Linda does,” he said. “Our chamber does so much for our county. I don’t know how we couldn’t support its efforts.”
District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said the chamber work does improve the quality of life in Walker County.
“The best way to change a person’s life is to give them a decent or high paying job,” Davis said. “That changes the quality of life. This chamber is doing that. I’ve seen it for myself. The leadership that Linda provides through the chamber is a blessing to our county.”
Luster said the funding will be approved on a yearly basis, instead of approving the total $250,000 for the five years.
“This is something that we will have to look at,” he said. “Our budget is tight, so I think this is the best way to do it right now.”
Lewis was thankful for the support.
“We appreciate the commission and what they do,” she said. “We are proud of the work they are doing.”
In other action at the meeting, the commission appointed former Dora Mayor George Sides Sr. to the East Walker Sewer Board.