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

The story below appeared last week in the Charleston Daily Mail.

Alliance creates metro task force
Officials to visit Louisville, Ky., to seehow it works there

by George Hohmann
Daily Mail Business Editor

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

The announcement comes one week before Alliance President Matt Ballard, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and others go to Louisville, Ky., to see how metro government works there.

Alliance Chairman Jack Rossi appointed five members of the Alliance's Board of Directors to the task force: Mike Basile of the law firm Spilman Thomas & Battle; Pat Bond of Mountaineer Capital; Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy; Skip Lineberg of Maple Creative; and James Sturgeon of the law firm Pauley, Currey, Sturgeon & Vanderford.

How much money will be spent to promote metro government has not yet been determined.
Earlier this month Carper sent a letter to Ballard offering the Alliance $100,000 in county funding if the Alliance or the Charleston Chamber of Commerce agree to come up with another $100,000.

Carper also asked Ballard to come up with an additional $300,000, all to be used to promote the idea of metro government.

"The total of at least $500,000 would then by used by the Charleston Area Alliance and/or Chamber of Commerce to perform an independent study on Metro Government in Kanawha County and facilitate an action/marketing plan for the subsequent implementation of Metro Government in Kanawha County," Carper's letter says.

Carper was asked this morning for his reaction to the Alliance's creation of the task force.

"I'm glad they responded to my request," he said.

Asked if he's heard back from the Alliance about his funding proposal, Carper said, "I've been told they indicated it wasn't enough - it'll take more. Of course. But I thought that was a starting point."

Carper added, "I've also been told it will be very difficult to raise that amount. Which is probably true. But that is what it is going to take."

Carper was asked if the county commission has agreed to his proposal to commit $100,000 of county money to promote metro government. "I don't have a commitment," Carper said. "But I cannot imagine I would not have support on this. Let's put it this way: I have my commitment."
Ballard said this morning, "It is still too premature to put a number to it (the metro government campaign).

"We have to determine what form of metro government we're talking about," he said. "If we're talking about two small municipalities in the upper Kanawha Valley or the merger of Charleston and Kanawha County, those would be two entirely different campaigns that would require entirely different resources.

"The task force will look at those things," Ballard said. "I think when everybody gets back from Louisville we'll have a better idea of what resources it took there."


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