Legislators seek HCC funding

All 16 state senators and representatives serving counties in the Historic Chattahoochee Commission service area signed a letter sent to Gov. Sonny Perdue asking that he include $125,000 in funds for the commission in his proposed Fiscal 2008-09 general fund budget.

The commission has been funded by the state continuously from 1978 until the last session of the General Assembly when it was zeroed out of the General Fund budget. Funds have been disbursed in the past through the Department of Economic Development.

"Unfortunately, the governor has not included any funding for the HCC in his budget proposal," said Doug Purcell, the agency's only executive director since it was founded. "Therefore, we, once again, are working to have the General Fund budget amended to include funding for the commission."

The HCC, which serves counties in Alabama and Georgia along the Chattahoochee River corridor, has received operating funds for years from both states. Among the services it provides to the region are marketing, tourism and agri-tourism promotion, historic preservation and helps publish books about the region. It is headquartered in Eufaula, Ala.

Purcell has filed an Enhancement and Other Adjustments Justification with the Office of Planning and Budget outlining intended uses for the requested appropriation. Copies of the document also have been provided to legislators who serve all or part of the 11 Georgia counties represented by the commission. The projects involve marketing and promoting tourism assets along the lower Chattahoochee River.

Georgia counties served by the agency include Muscogee, Harris, Troup, Chattahoochee, Stewart, Quitman and Clay in this area.