The September investors’ luncheon of the Farmington Regional Chamber was held Thursday at the Centene Center.
Alan Wells, director of the St. Francois County 911 Communications Center, showed a presentation to those in attendance on the proposed three-eighths of a cent sales tax being sought on the November ballot to fund the center.
Wells has made the presentation a number of times in recent weeks, speaking to city governments, organizations and civic clubs throughout St. Francois County.
Passage of the sales tax would replace the current tax on landline telephones with a sales tax on purchases. According to Wells, the steep decline in landline phone use has left the county’s 911 service in dire financial need.
Recent numbers show approximately 17,000 landline phones supporting St. Francois County 911, compared to 47,000 in 2001.
Wells was asked if the tax would apply to all purchases.
“By the statutes there are exempt items,” Wells said, adding he was unsure as to what those items would include.
The comment was made of the facility being the “center” of where emergency services for the county begin.
“The central communications center is the first spoke of that public safety wheel,” Wells said. “If it wobbles, the rest of it is going to wobble. You need that spoke – you wanted the spoke there – and it’s been in place for years.
“We want to be able to retain it and only to better the emergency service.”
Doug McDermott, president/CEO of the Farmington Regional Chamber, said the chamber’s board of directors recently adopted a resolution of support for the ballot initiative.
“A strong emergency response system is vital to attracting companies and employees to our area and to keeping our current residents safe,” McDermott said.
Those in attendance were also reminded of the chamber’s membership event scheduled for Tuesday.
“Our goal is to welcome 75 new members to the Farmington Regional Chamber in just one day,” said Jessica Mell, vice president of member development and programming. “We are the voice for business in the Farmington region, and we want our voice to be louder tomorrow than it was yesterday.”
Thirteen team captains have taken the lead in recruiting dozens of volunteers who will be calling friends, colleagues and business contacts on Tuesday to invite them to join the chamber during the “Let’s Go! Let’s Grow!” membership event.
“It’s exciting to see so many supporters of the chamber working together to tell people about the good work of this organization and invite them to be a part of it,” said Lisa Sumpter, team captain and chair of the Farmington Regional Chamber.
Working alongside Sumpter are team captains Linda Dickerson, Sue Evans, Rocky Good, Donna Hickman, Jessica Horton, Kim Long, Laura Raymer, Greg Redfield, Matt Sebastian, Brice Sechrest, Kevin Thurman and Lee Thurman.
Membership 180, a membership development company from Greenville, S.C. has been enlisted to bring their experience in recruiting, engaging and retaining new members to the Farmington Regional Chamber.
“The chamber has done an incredible job of lining up volunteers to help us with this process,” said Jay Handler, co-founder of Membership 180 in a press release provided by the chamber. “With their leadership, we will easily surpass the goals they’ve established and create a greater community awareness of the important role the chamber plays here in the Farmington area.”
The membership event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The Membership 180 team has been working with chamber staff, the board of directors and dozens of volunteers to prepare them for the hard work ahead.
Other announcements included the Fall Festival, sponsored by the Farmington Downtown Development Association, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 27. A car show is part of the festivities and will take place on the St. Francois County Courthouse annex grounds.
Member announcements included the United Way of St. Francois County’s “Girls’ Night Out” on Oct. 23 at Twin Oaks Vineyard and Winery and the “Sing United” featuring choirs from North County and Farmington High Schools on Oct. 28 at the Centene Center in Farmington. Attendees were reminded of the “Seeds of Wisdom-Growing and Gathering Healthy Habits” sponsored by Parkland Health Center in cooperation with BJC Behavioral Health, BJC Home Care Services and BJC Hospice at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 25 at the Centene Center in Farmington.
Dates were announced for the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center’s Heroes Walk on Oct. 11 at Columbia Park in Park Hills; Habitat for Humanity of St. Francois County fundraiser on Nov. 7 at The Factory in Farmington; as well as Belgrade State Bank’s customer appreciation days at the Farmington branch on Friday.
Chamber members were also invited to attend the 17th annual Farmington Marching Invitational that was held on Saturday. The day-long event featured 18 bands participating in field competition.
Camelot Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was the sponsoring business for the luncheon. Administrator Ron Robinson said the facility was opened in 1981 and has stayed under the same ownership since that time.
The facility was built by longtime Farmington physician Dr. Robert Huckstep. Robinson said Huckstep’s cousin, Lee Mitchum, served as architect for the project.