Officials to advocate for Clinton County at state capitol

Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Maureen Miller gives members of the Chamber's Leadership Institute information about Clinton during a bus tour Tuesday. Miller and other Clinton County officials and business leaders will visit with state legislators in Des Moines next week.

CLINTON — City and county officials, business leaders and residents interested in the economic development of Clinton County will visit with state legislators next week.

"This is something that originated with the Clinton [Area] Chamber [of Commerce] Government Committee," Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen Miller said Thursday.

Clinton County has visited the capitol to advocate for legislation every year "for a long time," Miller said.

"A few years ago we kind of hooked ourself up with DeWitt as well and created a logo and a name," Miller said. Clinton, DeWitt and Camanche actively advocate for Clinton County through Grow Clinton County.

County leaders are interested in several different kinds of legislation, Miller said. One issue they'd like to see resolved is a loophole in the hotel-motel tax law. Currently, lodging tax is not collected from anyone who stays longer than 30 days in a facility, including the first 30 days of their stay, according to the Travel Federation of Iowa.

Contract workers who stay in Clinton County during work projects could fall into that group, Miller said last week. That decreases the tax collected, which results in less money for Clinton's Convention and Visitors Bureau, a recipient of that tax.

Legislation relating to Tax Increment Financing, Home Base Iowa and Opportunity Zones affect the economic development of Clinton County, Miller said. The Clinton group also will encourage legislators to make U.S. 30 four lanes across the state.

Retaining commercial property reform backfill payments and promoting educational opportunities for all Iowa students are other concerns the group hopes to address in Des Moines next week, Miller said.

"We will have representatives from the City of Clinton and the City of DeWitt. Unfortunately, when we had to change the date, the City of Camanche couldn't make that happen," Miller said.

Local business people, the Clinton County Supervisors, representatives from the East Central Intergovernmental Association, representatives from Farm Bureau and the Downtown Clinton Alliance will divide into groups to talk to Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham and Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe.

"And then we'll talk to the Senate and House majority and minority leaders," and branch out to talk to committee chairs, Miller said.

"We kind of split up into teams, half to the Senate and half to the House," Miller said. "It's a fun day."

"We have very good relationships with our local legislators," Miller said. Making contact at the state level "is one of the ways we build relationships."

A native of Centerville, Winona comes to the Clinton Herald after writing for the Ottumwa Courier for two years.