The annual trip to Atlanta by business leaders and elected officials is the opportunity to meet with lawmakers to discuss legislative priorities and concerns for everyone in the Golden Isles.
Danielle Lewis, events and special projects coordinator for the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce, said 45 people have signed up for the trip as of Friday afternoon. Anyone from the Golden Isles is welcome to attend the annual trip on Jan. 26 and 27.
Lewis said chamber members were polled on the list of priorities to bring to Atlanta to ensure there is a strong consensus, Lewis said.
The agenda includes opposition to any legislation that would hinder or prevent local governments form adopting “reasonable ordinances” regulating the operation of short-term housing rentals within their jurisdictions.
They are seeking funding for the Jekyll Island Authority for capital improvements, support of the 2014 Jekyll Island master plan, and support of the current Certificate of Need Program.
Affordable health care coverage for residents, funding for programs to address systemic poverty and homelessness, broadening the state historic preservation tax incentives and funding to combat chronic blight in Brunswick will be discussed.
The group is requesting a regional emergency operations center in case of a catastrophic event. They support legislation that would extend the definition of a low-speed vehicle and to create a process for vehicles altered to go up to 25 mph to be eligible for a tag from the state to allow them to be operated on roads with speed limits up to 35 mph.
A funding request for renovations to the Bay Street corridor is requested to make the area more pedestrian friendly, including a pedestrian bridge and “traffic calming devices.”
Brownfield cleanups, increasing funding for improvements to local bridges and mental health concerns will also be discussed with state lawmakers.
The group will request continued support for transportation projects, funding for capital improvements at airports, plain language for local millage rates advertising, an increase in early childhood education funding, and protection from redirecting revenue from Georgia’s lodging tax to services with nothing to do with tourism.
There is local support for establishing new school start and end date policies and for funding to create affordable housing and workforce initiatives for public service employees such as public safety and educators, especially in downtown Brunswick.
The group is also seeking support for the county’s shoreline protection initiatives, expanding the low-income housing tax credit and expanding the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program.
They are also opposed to legislation that limits the authority of local governments to place fees such as solid waste and storm water utilities on property tax bills.
Lewis said those planning to go will make their own travel arrangements, but participants have gotten a group discount for hotel accommodations at the Hilton Garden Inn in Atlanta. The deadline to make a reservation at the discounted rate is Jan. 14.
Participants can also attend a state leadership recognition luncheon for key members of the state General Assembly and officials from state agencies at noon on Jan. 27. The registration fee is $100 for the luncheon.
Go to firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the luncheon or for more information. The booking link for the hotel is http://group.hiltongardeninn.com/BrunswickGoGoldenIsles.