Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Aug. 25, 2008) -- The Charleston Area Alliance has created a special task force to spearhead the formation of a community-wide organization to engage and educate voters on metro government issues.

Alliance Chairman Jack Rossi, appointed five Alliance members to the Metro Government Task Force: Mike Basile, Spilman Thomas & Battle; Pat Bond, Mountaineer Capital; Dave Hardy, Kanawha County Commission; Skip Lineberg, Maple Creative; and James Sturgeon, Pauley, Currey, Sturgeon & Vanderford.

“Helping government serve citizens more effectively and efficiently has always been a priority for the Alliance,” said Rossi. “We look forward to working with Senator Brooks McCabe, who has been at the forefront of metro government, along with other local leaders, to explore how it could benefit the people of Kanawha County.”

“While it can take many forms, metro government is essentially a way for the citizens and communities in our area to work together to meet the many common challenges we face,” noted Alliance President/CEO Matt Ballard.

“We believe metro government has the potential for giving more county residents a voice in their government, strengthening essential services such as fire and police protection, enhancing government effectiveness and saving taxpayers money,” he added.

“It is up to the people of our county, not the politicians, to decide how they should be governed,” Ballard cautioned. “Such an important decision needs to be based on the facts, not rhetoric or rumors. Understandably, many have questions about metro government and what form it might take in Kanawha County. We hope this community-wide group will help people make an informed choice.”

“If metro government is to be truly successful, all sectors of our county -- government, businesses, community groups and citizens – need to be involved in the process,” noted Hardy, a metro government proponent who serves as the county commission’s representative on the Alliance Board of Directors.

Ballard and two other Alliance staff members will join a delegation headed by County Commission President Kent Carper that is traveling to Louisville, Ky. on Sept. 4-5 to study how metro government works there. “We hope we, along with the mayors of local municipalities and others participating in the trip, will gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of metro government and share our findings with our respective constituencies,” Ballard said.

“We appreciate Commissioner Carper’s initiative on this issue and for organizing this important fact-finding mission,” added Rossi.

The Alliance’s participation in the Louisville trip is a continuation of its efforts on metro government. The Charleston Chamber of Commerce, one of the components of the Alliance, successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation allowing for metro government. In 2006, the Alliance hosted a presentation by Louisville Deputy Mayor Joan Riehm to area leaders. The Alliance also gave financial support to a series of community forums on metro government presented by the South Charleston Area Community Advisory Panel.

“There are many serious challenges facing our region,” said Rossi. “But there is strength in numbers. Metro government is one way we all can work together to build a more promising future for our families.”


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