(email questions/comments to wrightted@aol.com).
Ted Wright -- last update 9/6/2009 (& 9/14) (ChamberOstrander.html) www.cvilleok.com

Copyright 2009 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma

Collinsville Chamber of Commerce
September 3, 2009
Small Business Involvement In City Policies
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Collinsville Chamber of Commerce.
Contact Wanda.
(Membership Info)
Next Chamber meeting is Oct. 1 at the Library
2009 Chamber Officers

Pres: Ernie Davis
VP: Jin Dolton
Sec/Tres: Billie Francis
Pres. Elect: __________(TBA)

Directors (2009-2011):
Nichole Landrum
Ted Wright
Bill Johnston

Directors (2008-2010):
Christine Wilson
Kelly Hamlin

1-Year Directors:

Rusty Poindexter
Kelvin Limbocker
Robin Lansaw
Daniel Boggs
Mickie Dessiatova
Don Hutchinson
Stacy Brown

Phil Ostrander Asked City & Businesses
To Work Together

Phil Ostrander addressed a large crowd at the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce on a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives (former legislator, former firefighter, current small business owner & lobbyist). Following a brief civics lesson including distinctions between policies and politics was an introduction to Collinsville's style of city government and individual city leaders.

Ostrander's main question poised was: "What role should the business community play in local city government?". Ostrander stated "currently there is no unified voice for the business community." He said the business owners should lobby for "business friendly" policies. In addition to reminding that the needs of small businesses are different than those of large businesses, Ostrander discussd the following specific topics:

* Sign & frontage/sidewalk ordinances
* Utility policies
* Parking & business access
* Community image
* The chamber should ask for city funding support

Another Ostrander topics was opposition to the city's proposed annexation of the Highway 169 corridor.

Phil Ostrander

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Among the 26 electric cooperatives operating in Oklahoma, VVEC is the third largest based on the number of meters served by the co-op. Ninety-two employees cover the Cooperative’s more than 3,200-square mile service territory daily maintaining the electric system and providing consumer-oriented service.


Editorial: From what I consider a unique perspective of only a handful of people that routinely attend and participate in local city (& school) government by attending a majority of public meetings ... I can easily state that the roughly 5000 citizens in our local community are under represented by the lack of their own participation. And as I have often stated on this web site, the "system" is very unfriendly to encouraging public involvement. Legally, public notice via agendas with minimal information and even attendance at meetings gives just a glimpse at the actual dollars being spent and policies being set. I encourage the city (& school) to provide additional insight into upcoming meeting topics. I encourage the citizens (& businesses) to get more involved and ask more question ... before the policies are set.

I will also cite one specific example from the chamber meet above which Phil Ostrander described as "a disaster averted": the possibility of the city keeping merchants from putting any display merchandise on the downtown sidewalks. There has apparently been some recent compromise which I've heard of 2nd or 3rd? hand details. As a downtown business owner and one that tracks agenda and meetings I have no first hand information on what that compromise may be nor how "official" it may be. Just another example of lack of communication between businesses (& citizens) and the city. -- Ted Wright 9/6/2009

9/14/2009 update: I had a visit today from Steve Tinker (code enforcement) & Jim Dunlap (planner) from the city to followup on my "communication" comment above. They indicated that an informal meeting with city administration and the mayor has decided to just enforce the existing sidewalk ordinance which allows up to 4 feet of sidewalk merchandise. This is clearer than the versions I had previously heard. They also said they had already spoken to merchants that typically had sidewalk merchandise.-- Ted