As the calendar changes, the Chamber advocacy reflects on the past year while also looking forward to the work ahead. After years of grumbling, we have finally witnessed real progress in the expansion of the Monroe County Convention Center. This development project required shuttle diplomacy by our President and continued public comments by the Chamber to drive this message home. The result is a Capital Improvement Board (CIB) that provides for shared governance. The county commissioners formed the CIB before it was later affirmed by the city council. This breakthrough was only after the Chamber and its partners earlier in the year were able to prevent the state legislature from sunsetting the food and beverage tax.
Next year, the Chamber plans to focus its work on continuing to support public K12 education, expanded owner-occupied housing, and most importantly, improved public safety in our community. The essential duty of our government is to keep its citizens safe. To do that we need to have an appreciated, well-paid police force at full capacity to address the problem behaviors our members deal with daily. There is a need for immediate remedies that can address the problem. We cannot tolerate people feeling threatened walking down the street on a way to a downtown eatery. These behaviors must be addressed and not accepted as the permanent backdrop of our community.
The Chamber has been in full support of the work of the county’s justice response committee. We need real reform that entails a bigger emphasis on mental illness/addiction programs that address our recidivism rate. The current jail housed at Charlotte Zietlow Justice Center is completely inadequate in all respects. However, we are years away from seeing this type of transformative change in our justice system. In the meantime, short-term solutions must be sought.
Leave a Reply.