Carroll County Chamber of Commerce

Gov. Fletcher discusses tourism,
other issues at chamber luncheon

By Don Ward

CARROLLTON, Ky. – Nearly 90 members and guests of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce attended November’s membership meeting Nov. 14 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park to hear Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher speak on a wide range of topics that affect small business and industry.

Ernie Fletcher

Photo by Don Ward

Gov. Ernie Fletcher greets (from left)
Stephanie Furnish and Miranda Monroe
at the Carroll Co. Chamber lunch.

Fletcher identified several issues of concern for the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. They include initiatives in health, insurance, taxes, commerce and education. He also cited tourism as a key component of Kentucky’s industry, with tourism expenditures topping $23 million last year, up from $21 million in 2003. Overall in Northern Kentucky, tourism increased 8.2 percent from 2003 to 2004, from $1.8 million to more than $2 million, he said.
“Tourism is a very important industry here in Carrollton, and the changes we’ve made in the state park system recently has made Kentucky an even more attractive place to visit,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher highlighted some of the initiatives his administration has pushed to help attract more business to the state. He cited a Site Selection Magazine study that ranked Kentucky as the fourth best state to do business.
But it was the need to improve Kentucky’s education programs – especially higher education – that Fletcher discussed the most. He said the state ranks 42nd in higher education.
He also said the rising cost of health care and medicaid are areas that need attention. “And we must find a way to deal with the 500,000 people in Kentucky who have no insurance.”
During a question-and-answer period, Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson asked the governor for help in improving the county's’ highways, and also for his attention to an initiative to relocate and expand Jefferson Community College to a site just across Hwy. 227 from the entrance to Butler Park. Lawmakers plans to make their case for an expanded JCC in the upcoming legislative session.
“This is a project that has taken on some life recently, and I certainly think it’s doable in this legislative session,” Tomlinson told the governor. “This community college has seen tremendous growth, and it is important to our businesses. Plus it’s not just Carroll County that is affected but seven or eight other surrounding counties.”
Fletcher responded by saying, “We’ll have to see how it falls into the priority list for funding. My advice to you is to get as much community and local business support as possible and come to us with a plan that reflects that support. That will make it an easier sell to legislators.”
As for highway funding, Fletcher came prepared by reeling off a series of projects already under way in Carroll and Gallatin counties. But he added, “If an industry decides to expand and add jobs and needs a road built to do that, the money will be there.”
In other chamber business, four new board members were announced: Maguana Qualls of Cornerstone Floral & Gifts, Chet Mitchell of Beehive Homes of Carrollton, Chas Robbins of Carrollton Utilities and Jim Ebert of Camp KYSOC. Outgoing board members are Susie Poling of North American Stainless and Doreen Shields of Kroger Co.
Chamber president Stephen Jones, whose term expires in December, also announced the return of the second annual “Shop Carrollton First” gift certificates program. The coupons can be purchased in $10 increments at the Chamber office at 511 Highland Ave.

• Call (502) 732-7034 for information.

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