Business Advocacy Committee – February 26, 2016


On February 29th, the Intergovernmental Agency (IA) – made up of the city and county commission – will vote to establish itself as the region’s new economic development organization (EDO) responsible for determining projects and initiatives to fund with $90 million expected from the Blueprint penny sales tax. Within the EDO, the IA will launch the Office of Economic Vitality and a new economic development ecosystem model that includes the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders.
The Chamber, which led the campaign to win voter approval of the penny sales tax extension, will serve as an advocate and voice for the business community in the IA’s new ecosystem and we are taking steps to ensure our position and role in economic development is stronger than ever.

At our February 23 Board of Directors meeting, we presented a new path for the Chamber with the help of former Florida Commerce Secretary Gray Swoope, who now works in the private sector as President and CEO of VisionFirst Advisors. Swoope and his team worked with a diverse group of our members to produce the framework for the Chamber’s long-range strategic plan to support economic growth and development in the region. With additional input from Chamber members, we will continue to develop and implement a plan that moves the business community forward and creates new opportunities that boost our local economy.

Click the links below to read the meeting agenda for the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency and recent media coverage about the proposed Economic Development Ecosystem.

Meeting Agenda Item

Tallahassee Democrat coverage on new model


Reggie Bouthillier, Chamber Chair-Elect, represented The Chamber and its members during the recent City Budget Peer Review held on February 12, 2016. This review organized by City Manager Rick Fernandez, focused on obtaining feedback and recommendations on the current process, areas of improvements, and how the process can be more transparent.

A few of the highlights from the meeting include suggesting a plan for accountability and demonstration of performance based measures. Our recommendation is the City utilize this opportunity to be more efficient and effective in the future. We requested The Chamber and the business community be kept involved throughout the annual budgeting process. We encouraged the city’s leadership to place measures and actions to prioritize the business community with a mindset of enhancing our local economy.

The BAC will continue to monitor the budgeting process for the upcoming fiscal year. Upcoming dates noticed on City of Tallahassee calendar for budget discussions/workshops are June 14th and July 13th.


After three years of engagement, public forums, and productive conversations, the City has passed the Noise Ordinance – No. 13-O-19. The Chamber has been representing our members interest on this issue since 2013. We believe that the passed ordinance provides a balance to the interests of businesses and neighborhoods. The Chamber supported the ordinance with the condition that it be re-evaluated in 150 days to assess whether the Proposed Ordinance can be improved upon based on the post implementation experience within our community. Such a review will allow all stakeholders to share the appropriate feedback so we can continue to make the Proposed Ordinance as effective at it can be without unintended consequences.


The Business Advocacy Committee (BAC) continues to stay focused on serving the needs of the Chamber membership and the business community. I, Ed Murray, will be transitioning over to Chair of the Economic Development Strategy Committee (formerly recognized as the Council for Economic Opportunity – CEO). Rick Moore will assume the role of Chair for the BAC. This transition is effective March 1st. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve on this committee, and we are looking forward to Rick continuing this great program of work.

-E. Edward Murray