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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Council to meet on economic development

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Shelbyville city council wants to get more involved in the region's economic development, with hopes for two meetings on the topic this year.

Last July, the council held a joint meeting with the Chamber of Commerce's economic development and tourism committee, the first time such a gathering was held.

Most of the meeting was taken up reviewing the committee's roles and responsibilities, including a discussion of their funding.

Regular meetings

Now city manager Jay Johnson is suggesting holding the meetings twice a year in addition to the council's budget review sessions in the late spring.

He suggested that the next meeting could focus on opportunities and challenges in economic development, with topics such as marketing efforts and how the community measures success. Then in the fall, have a meeting about formulating a strategy to attract more jobs.

Johnson noted that the city's hotel/motel tax had dropped around seven percent in 2012, and observed that in other communities where he worked as city manager, the city was "a lot more involved" in discussing economic development opportunities.

Councilman Henry Feldhaus stated that Shelbyville "must be focused" on the topic of jobs and bringing in new industry.

More focus urged

Johnson also mentioned that the city of Shelbyville is the only entity that makes contributions to the Chamber's economic development and tourism committee. The city manager also said it was a frequent subject of conversation.

He said that questions companies ask about utilities, road access, and tax breaks, all involve city government. Johnson explained to the T-G that Chattanooga has given large tax breaks and now has the highest job growth in the state.

The city manager also pointed out recent job announcements in nearby Pulaski and Lewisburg, with Murfreesboro becoming one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

"It's happening all around us," Johnson asked. "What can we be doing to help?"