Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bringing new industry rests partially on the shoulders of the community

By Deborah Goodwin

The Selma Times-Journal

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The mission of the Economic Development Authority (EDA) is &8220;to attract new employers to the area and retain and expand existing employers,&8221; but that task cannot be carried out without financial support from the community.

Officials kicked off the VISION 2020 Campaign on Wednesday with a press conference at the Centre for Commerce building.

The initiative is a four-year campaign entitled &8220;Investing in our future,&8221; which is focused on bringing investors to Dallas County.

The financial goal for the project is $1.25M over the next four years.

VISION 2020 is co-chaired by H.C. &8220;Billy&8221; Atchison of Alabama Power Company and Catesby ap R. Jones of First Cahawba Bank (in organization).

Atchison stated the importance of having a strong economic development organization.

According to reports, the annual unemployment rate for Dallas County is down from 12.9 percent in 2003 to a historic low of 7.4 percent in 2006.

The EDA is an investor-funded organization, and as with any business, the amount of monetary resources can determine its limitations.

According to Wayne Vardaman, EDA executive director and president of the Centre for Commerce, the majority of the EDA’s funding comes from city and county government, industrialists, utility companies and some local retailers, but when new industries come to the area, the whole community is affected, therefore, more community support is being sought.

Individual pledges can be made to VISION 2020 in the amount of $100 minimum per year. The public is encouraged to consult their accountants on tax matters.

For more information, contact Ann Love at 334-875-8365.