STATE OF THE COUNTY ADDRESS
SPEECH TO THE GREATER SAN ANTONIO
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2006


GOOD AFTERNOON. I AM PLEASED TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY TO SHARE THE GOOD NEWS ON THE FUTURE OF BEXAR COUNTY.

FIRST, LET ME THANK THE MEMBERS OF THE GREATER CHAMBER FOR THEIR HARD WORK IN BRINGING OUR CITY TO WHAT MAYOR PHIL HARDBERGER DESCRIBES AS "THE BEST OF TIMES".

WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF THE CITY'S LARGEST ECONOMIC EXPANSION. TODAY I WANT TO VISIT WITH YOU ABOUT SOME MAJOR ISSUES THAT WILL AFFECT THE CONTINUED GROWTH OF OUR ECONOMY AS WELL AS SOME SOCIAL ISSUES THAT IMPACT THE LIVES OF MANY OF OUR CITIZENS.

LET ME BEGIN WITH ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCES, WATER. SAN ANTONIO'S WATER SUPPLY, THE SAN ANTONIO RIVER AND FLOOD CONTROL SHOULD REMAIN A TOP PRIORITY.

WATER

WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE TIME I WAS MAYOR IN THE EARLY 1990'S WHEN WE CREATED THE SAN ANONIO WATER SYSTEM BY MERGING THREE CITY AGENCIES AND APPOINTED CLIFF MORTON AS CHAIRMAN. WE THEN WENT TO THE LEGISLATURE TO CREATE THE EDWARDS AQUIFER AUTHORITY IN ORDER TO GET US OUT FROM UNDER THE THUMB OF FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGE BUNTON WHO SOUGHT TO FEDERALLY REGULATE THE AQUIFER USING THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT AS HIS WEAPON.

SINCE THEN, SAWS HAS DIVERSIFIED THEIR WATER SUPPLY AND IMPLEMENTED AN EFFECTIVE WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM.

BUT THE WORK ON WATER SUPPLY NEVER STOPS. THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. MAYOR HARDBERGER AND I HAVE CREATED A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GREATER CHAMBER TO PRESENT AN ACTIVE AND STRONG VOICE IN THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE ON WATER ISSUES.

WE NEED TO HAVE LEGISLATION THAT INCREASES PUMPING LIMITS FROM 450,000 AC. FT. TO 549,000 AC. FT.

MOST IMPORTANT IS TO MAKE SURE THE LEGISLATURE DOES NOT CREATE A MAN MADE WATER CRISIS BY SETTING TARGETS THAT CREATE UNREASONABLE DROUGHT RESTRICTIONS. EVEN IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS WE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PUMP AT LEAST 340,000 AC. FT.

WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO USE OUR REUSE WATER AND NOT ALLOW IT TO BE TAKEN AWAY FOR DOWNSTREAM USE.

WE NEED LEGISLATION THAT WILL ALLOW US TO MOVE BEXAR METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT UNDER THE COUNTY WITH THE GOAL OF MERGING WITH SAWS, TO CREATE ONE STRONG WATER SERVICE COMPANY. IT WILL GIVE US THE ECONOMY OF SCALE, PROVIDE THE SAME WATER RATES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY, AND ENABLE US TO DEVELOP WATER RESOURCES FOR ALL WATER USERS IN THE COUNTY. STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT PUENTE WILL TAKE THE LEAD ON THIS LEGISLATION.

THE SAN ANTONIO RIVER

WE HAVE A PARTNESHIP WITH THE CITY AND SARA (LILA COCKRILL) TO IMPROVE 13 MILES OF THE RIVER AT A COST OF $198 MILLION. THE DOWNTOWN REACH IS COMPLETED, AND THE EAGLELAND REACH TO LONE STAR BLVD IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE $50 MILLION MUSEUM REACH FROM LEXINGTON STREET TO JOSEPHINE WILL START THIS DECEMBER. THE MUSEUM REACH WILL STABLIZE THE RIVER CHANNEL, EXTEND NAVIGATION BY RIVER BARGE THROUGH THE ADDITION OF A LOCK AND DAM SYSTEM TO CREATE ACCESS ALONG A LINEAR PARK.

THE $127 MILLION SOUTHERN REACH FROM LONE STAR TO MISSION ESPADA, IS A STRETCH OF EIGHT MILES. THIS WORK ON THE RIVER WILL FOCUS ON ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION TO RETURN THE RIVER TO ITS NATURAL MEANDERS AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT SUITABLE FOR WILD LIFE AND RECREATION.

THE COUNTY'S SHARE OF $33 MILLION AND THE CITY SHARE OF $15 MILLION HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATED. BUT WE FACE CHALLENGES IN SEEKING THE OVER $70 MILLION IN FUNDING FROM THE CORE OF ARMY ENGINEERS. THESE FUNDS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED BY CONGRESS.

PHASE ONE FROM LONE STAR BLVD TO SAN PEDRO CREEK IS READY TO START NEXT JUNE AND WILL COST $17 MILLION. THE SECOND PHASE WILL REQUIRE AN ADDITIONAL $30 MILLION.

WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP TO PERSUADE CONGRESS TO FUND THE FIRST TWO PHASES IN ‘07 AND ‘08 BUDGETS. WE HAVE INCLUDED AN ADDITIONAL SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS IN THE COUNTY BUDGET TO MAKE SURE THE FIRST PHASE STARTS. WE MUST NOT FAIL TO SECURE THE FUNDING FROM CONGRESS.

IN ADDITION TO 13 MILES, WE SHOULD ALSO IMPROVE THE SECTION OF THE RIVER FROM JOSEPHINE TO HILDEBRAND AT A COST OF $30-$40 MILLION. THERE IS PRESENTLY NO FUNDING FOR THIS SECTION OF THE RIVER. WE WILL BE WORKING WITH THE CITY TO INDENTIFY FUNDING SOURCES.

FLOOD CONTROL

BEXAR COUNTY IS PART OF AN AREA IDENTIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AS PRONE TO FLASH FLOODING.

FLOODS IN 1998 AND 2002 CAUSED MORE THAN ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.

FOLLOWING THE 2002 FLOOD, THE COUNTY, CITY AND SARA JOINED IN AN EFFORT TO IMPLEMENT A UNIFIED REGIONAL FLOOD CONTROL, DRAINAGE AND STORM WATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT OUR COMMUNITY HAS TAKEN STEPS TO DEAL WITH FLOOD ISSUES ON A COMPREHENSIVE REGIONAL BASIS.

THE PLAN IS TO BUILD 10-15 DETENTION FACILITIES (DAMS), MAKE CHANNEL IMPROVEMENTS AND CURE LOW WATER CROSSINGS. THE DETENTION FACILITIES COULD INCLUDE PARK LAND. THE PROJECT WILL BRING SOME PARCELS OF PROPERTY OUT OF THE FLOOD ZONE.

THE SOME $300 MILLION IN FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS WILL BE FUNDED WITH BONDS SECURED BY BEXAR COUNTY'S FLOOD CONTROL TAX. THEN, COMMISSIONERS COURT WILL DECIDE ON WHICH PROJECTS TO SUBMIT TO VOTERS IN NOVEMBER OF NEXT YEAR. IT WILL REQUIRE A MODEST TAX INCREASE.

THE FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS WILL ALSO HAVE TO BE COORDINATED WITH THE CITY'S BOND PACKAGE THAT IS SCHEDULED TO BE SUBMITTED IN MAY OF 2007. THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO WILL INCLUDE SELECTED DRAINAGE PROJECTS WHICH COORDINATE WITH FLOOD PROJECTS AS PART OF THE MAY 2007 PLANNED CITY BOND ELECTION.

MAYOR HARDBERGER AND I WILL BE ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT ON BOTH BOND ISSUE CAMPAIGNS.

AIR QUALITY

SINCE 2004, EPA HAS DESIGNATED THE BEXAR REGION IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL GUIDELINES FOR OZONE EMISSION.

IN 2004, I MET WITH THE THEN EPA DIRECTOR TO SET IN MOTION THE NATION'S FIRST EVER EARLY ACTION COMPACT AGREEMENT.

ALL FOUR COUNTIES AND MAJOR CITIES WITHIN THE COUNTIES SIGNED THE PACT WHICH GAVE US THREE YEARS TO COMPLY.

NEXT YEAR IS OUR LAST YEAR IN WHICH WE HAVE TO MEET THE CLEAN AIR STANDARDS. IF WE DO NOT MEET THE STANDARDS, WE WILL BE DECLARED IN NON-ATTAINTMENT STATUS AND SUBJECT TO ECONOMIC GROWTH RESTRICTIONS.

MOST OF OUR NOXIOUS EMISSIONS COME FROM VEHICLES. IN THIS LAST CRITICAL YEAR UNDER THE COMPACT, I BELIEVE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STEPS WE CAN TAKE IS TO ENCOURAGE MASS TRANSIT AND THEREBY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CARS ON THE ROAD.

IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE BUS RIDERSHIP, BEXAR COUNTY HAS SUBSIDIZED THE VIA MONTHLY BIG PASS FOR OUR EMPLOYEES FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS. RIDERSHIP WENT UP FROM 223 A MONTH IN NOVEMBER 2000 TO 800 A MONTH IN 2006.

THIS YEAR UNDER THE AGGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP OF COMMISSIONER TOMMY ADKISSION, BEXAR COUNTY WILL PAY FOR UNLIMITED BUS RIDES FOR OUR EMPLOYEES AS WELL AS FOR JURORS.

CURRENTLY, ONLY 32 OF THE 100 LARGEST EMPLOYERS SUBSIDIZE THE VIA BIG PASS. I HOPE YOUR COMPANY WILL JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT TO KEEP OUR AIR CLEAN BY PROVIDING THE VIA MONTHLY BIG PASS FOR FREE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES.

TRANSPORTATION

SINCE WE STARTED THE SAN ANTONIO MOBILITY COALITION FOUR YEARS AGO TXDOT'S SPENDING IN THE SAN ANTONIO DISTRICT HAS TRIPLED FROM $180 MILLION IN 2003 TO $600 MILLION IN 2006. MORE THAN ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN HIGHWAY PROJECTS ARE UNDERWAY IN OUR DISTRICT, THE MOST IN OUR HISTORY! THANKS TO COMMISSIONER HOPE ANDRADE.

I HAD THE PRIVILEGE TO LEAD THE PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO PASS THE ADVANCED TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT IN NOVEMBER 2004. THIS ALLOWED US TO LEVERAGE STATE FUNDING. PROJECTS HAVE BEEN ACCELERATED FOUR TO 11 YEARS EARLIER.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER HOPE ANDRADE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN SUPPORTING THIS PROGRAM.

JUST THIS MORNING WE BROKE GROUND ON A $116 MILLION EXPANSION OF IH 410 BETWEEN NACO AND AUSTIN HWY. THE ATD FUNDING ALLOWED US TO START NINE YEARS EARLIER. SEVEN OTHER PROJECTS WILL FOLLOW.

WE ARE PRESENTLY WORKING ON A SAN ANTONIO RAIL MASTER PLAN THAT WILL DIVERT RAIL FREIGHT TRAFFIC OUT OF THE CITY CENTER AND ALONG HWY 35 LEADING TO AUSTIN. THIS IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE LONG TERM SAFETY OF OUR CITIZENS AND CONTINUED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF OUR REGION.

IN THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE WE MUST PRESS FOR $200 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR RAIL RELOCATION. THIS WOULD ALLOW SOME TWO BILLION DOLLARS IN BONDS TO PAY FOR RAIL RELOCATION PROJECTS.

DOWNTOWN

DOWNTOWN IS ON A ROLL WITH NEW HOTELS, APARTMENTS, AND CONDOMINIUMS THAT ARE BEING BUILT. THE COUNTY WILL PLAY A PART IN THAT REDEVELOPMENT BY BUILDING AN EIGHT STORY BUILDING BEHIND THE JUSTICE CENTER AND A 500 SPACE PARKING GARAGE ACROSS THE STREET. WE WILL ALSO CONSTRUCT A HOME FOR ADULT PROBATION IN THE NEAR WEST OF DOWNTOWN. COMMISSIONER PAUL ELIZONDO IS THE FORCE BEHIND THE PLANNING FOR THESE NEW STRUCTURES.

MY WIFE, TRACY IS CONTINUING HER WORK TO RENOVATE AND RESTORE THE COURTHOUSE. UNDER HER LEADERSHIP WE NOW HAVE THE MODEL COURTROOM IN THE NATION FOR ABUSED AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN. IN THE NEXT TWO MONTHS, WE WILL COMPLETE TWO COURTROOMS AND START TWO MORE THIS YEAR.

I AM EXCITED ABOUT MAYOR HARDBERGER'S PLAZA DE LAS ISLAS PROJECT. IT WILL CREATE A PARK ENTRANCE TO THE RIVER EXTENDING ALL THE WAY OVER TO SAN FERNANDO. TOURISTS WILL BE ABLE TO STEP FROM THE RIVER INTO THIS BEAUTIFUL PLAZA TO SEE THE HISTORIC CIVIC CENTER OF SAN ANTONIO. THE COUNTY HAS COMMITTED $2.5 MILLION TOWARD THIS PROJECT.

PGA

AFTER THE CITY PASSED A NON-ANNEXATION AGREEMENT FOR THE PGA DEVELOPMENT, THE COUNTY CREATED A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT AND APPOINTED A SEVEN MEMBER BOARD TO RUN THE DISTRICT. COMMISSIONER LARSON HAS BEEN IN THE FOREFRONT IN MAKING THIS PROJECT A REALITY.

I WANT TO THANK THE CITY COUNCIL FOR PASSING THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO THE NON ANNEXATION AGREEMENT LAST WEEK. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE MARRIOT HOTEL TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF THEIR LENDER.

I EXPECT THE GROUND BREAKING FOR THE NEW 1,000 ROOM RESORT TO OCCUR IN THE EARLY PART OF NEXT YEAR AND THE PGA COURSE WITHIN A YEAR THEREAFTER.

WHEN FINISHED I BELIEVE WE WILL HAVE ONE OF THE GREATEST RESORT HOTEL AND PGA GOLF COURSES IN THE WORLD.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Texas is one of the five states that has the highest rate of incarcerated people. BEXAR COUNTY'S PER CAPITA INCARCERATION RATE OF 2.74 IS MORE THAN 29% HIGHER THAN SIMILARLY SIZED TARRANT COUNTY.

THE COST OF INCARCERATION IS HIGH. OUR BUDGET LAST YEAR WAS ABOUT $50 MILLION. IT COST $50 PER DAY FOR EACH DETAINEE. WE HAVE OVER 4,000 PEOPLE IN JAIL TODAY, OF WHICH ABOUT 60% HAVE NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY. WE ARE OUT OF SPACE, FORCING US TO SEND DETAINEES TO THE GUADALUPE JAIL.

LAST YEAR, WE SPENT OVER $10 MILLION A YEAR ON COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY'S FOR DEFENDENTS. OUR PRISONERS CONSIST OF THOSE WHO ARE INTOXICATED, MENTALLY ILL, DRUG ADDICTED, AND PARENTS WHO DO NOT PAY CHILD SUPPORT.

IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE THIS SYSTEM, THE COMMISSIONERS COURT CREATED THE DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING AND COORDINATION TO INNOVATE AND ADDRESS THESE ISSUES.

LAST YEAR, WE ESTABLISHED A CRISIS CARE CENTER AT THE BRADY GREEN CLINIC. IN THE FIRST YEAR, 7,000 PEOPLE WITH MENTAL PROBLEMS WERE DIVERTED FROM JAIL AND TREATED AT THE CENTER.

WE HAVE CREATED DRUG COURTS THAT FOCUS ON REHABLILITION OF THE ARRESTED PERSON RATHER THAN JAILING THE INDIVIDUAL.

D.A. SUSAN REED HAS STARTED A FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER AT THE BRADY GREEN THAT PROVIDES COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

FOR THE FUTURE, WE NEED TO BUILD A COMMUNITY DETOX CENTER WHERE A PERSON CAN BE TREATED, BECOME INDEPENDENT AND THERBY REDUCING RE-ARREST RATES. WE ALSO WILL WORK WITH THE CITY AS THEY ADDRESS THE NEED FOR A HOMELESS SHELTER THAT WOULD INCLUDE A DETOX CENTER.

BUT LOCAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES ARE LIMITED AND WE CANNOT MEET ALL THE NEEDS. THE LEGISLATURE MUST BE PRESSURED TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR THESE MEASURES.

WE ARE IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE CITY TO ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY TO MANAGE THE MAGISTRATION SYSTEM. WE CAN APPOINT MAGISTRATES AND UNLIKE CITY APPOINTEES, THEY CAN ADJUCATE. MANY CASES COULD BE DISPOSED OF BEFORE THE PERSON IS TRANSPORTED TO THE JAIL.

WE HOPE TO BE ABLE TO TRANSFER THE RESPONSIBILITY BY JUNE OF NEXT YEAR. WE WILL HAVE SEVERAL LEGISLATIVE ISSUES AFFECTING THE CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE THAT WILL BE ADDRESSED IN THE UPCOMING SESSION.

HEALTH CARE

WE RUN A $700 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET WITH 4,500 EMPLOYEES THROUGH THE BEXAR COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT. A SEVEN MEMBER BOARD, OF WHICH I APPOINT THREE, RUNS THE SYSTEM. THE COMMISSIONERS COURT SETS THE TAX RATE AND APPROVES THE BUDGET.

WE ACT AS A TEACHING HOSPITAL FOR THE UT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AND PROVIDE CARE FOR EVERYONE REGARDLESS IF COVERED BY INSURANCE.

I CONVENED A HEALTH SUMMIT IN 2001, AT WHICH WE SUCCESSFULLY ADDRESSED SEVERAL HEALTH CARE ISSUES. IN OUR SECOND HEALTH SUMMIT HELD LAST MONTH, WE IDENTIFIED TWO KEY LEGISLATIVE ISSUES.

1. THE LEGISLATURE MUST PUT UP ENOUGH MATCHING FUNDS TO DRAW DOWN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR THE CHILDRENS HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PUTS UP $2.60 FOR EVERY STATE DOLLAR. IN BEXAR COUNTY, WE ARE LOSING $222 IN FEDERAL MATCHING DOLLARS BECAUSE OF A LACK OF STATE MATCHING FUNDS.

2. WE NEED MATCHING FUNDS TO DRAW DOWN FEDERAL FUNDS FOR MEDICAID. STATE WIDE WE ARE LOSING SOME TWO BILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL FUNDING.

THE BURDEN IS NOW ON LOCAL TAX PAYERS WHILE WE ALLOW FEDERAL FUNDING TO GO TO OTHER STATES.

WE ARE ALSO WORKING WITH THE HOSPITAL DISTRICT BOARD OF MANAGERS TO MOVE FORWARD ON A MAJOR CAPITAL PROJECT OF APPROXIMATELY $350 MILLION TO IMPROVE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL AND THE BRADY GREEN CLINIC.

WE ARE WORKING WITH HARLANDALE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT TO CREATE A HEALTH PROFESSIONS HIGH SCHOOL. AND COMMISSIONER RODRIGUEZ IS AT THE HELM OF THIS PROJECT.

THE BEST OF TIMES

WE ARE IN THE BEST OF TIMES. OUR CITY IS ON AN ECONOMIC ROLL.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE EDF TO BRING NEW COMPANIES TO SAN ANTONIO. WE WILL BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY TO ACCOMMODATE GROWTH.

BUT THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. WHILE OUR CITY IS IN THE BEST OF TIMES, WE SHOULD BE INVESTING IN MAJOR PROJECTS TO TAKE OUR CITY TO THE NEXT LEVEL. WE MUST DETERMINE WHAT ARE THE NEXT BIG INVESTMENTS WE SHOULD MAKE IN A PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP. THERE ARE MANY GREAT PROJECTS TO CONSIDER.

THE UT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER NEEDS $150 MILLION OF SOUTH TEXAS RESEARCH TOWER THAT WOULD GIVE OUR BIO-SCIENCE INDUSTRY A MAJOR STEP FORWARD.

UTSA NEEDS $50 MILLION TO MOVE ITS SPORTS PROGRAMS UP TO A LEVEL COMMISERATE WITH ITS SIZE AND IMPORTANCE.

WE ARE THE ONLY CITY OF SIZE WITHOUT A PERFORMING ARTS CENTER TO PROVIDE A HOME FOR OUR SYMYPHONY AND OPERA. THIS WOULD COST AROUND $100 MILLION.

OUR CITY IS READY FOR A NEW MAJOR LEAGUE FRANCHISE, MLB OR NFL, AT A COST OF ABOUT $200 MILLION

HEMISFAIR SHOULD BE REDEVELOPED WHICH WOULD COST $100-$200 MILLION.

THE PROPOSED TEXAS A & M UNIVERSITY COULD BE DONE FOR $30-$50 MILLION.

WE SHOULD EXTEND RIVER IMPROVEMENTS TO HILDEBRAND, AROUND $30-$40 MILLION.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT ON THE COLISEUM GROUNDS FOR $50 MILLION.

A MAJOR PUBLIC EDUCATION INITIATIVE… (QUESTION MARK.)

YOU MAY HAVE SOMETHING ELSE IN MIND.

THERE IS SOME POTENTIAL PUBLIC MONEY FOR SOME OF THE PROJECTS THAT QUALIFY FOR HOTEL-MOTEL TAX FUNDING. THE COUNTY WILL PAY OFF THE DEBT ON THE AT&T CENTER BY 2012.

$200-$400 MILLION IN FUNDS WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR WORTHY PROJECTS PROVIDED THE PUBLIC SUPPORTS THE PROJECT IN A PUBLIC REFRENDUM. IT WILL NOT INCLUDE PROPERTY OR SALES TAX. IT WOULD BE UP TO THE COMMISSIONERS COURT TO CHOOSE AND SUBMIT THE PROJECTS.

BUT IT WILL TAKE BUSINESS GIANTS TO LEAD AN EFFORT TO PROVIDE MATCHING PRIVATE FUNDS. WE NEED BUSINESS LEADERS WHO HAVE LARGE FINANCIAL RESOURCES OR ACCESS TO THEM, WHO WILL COMMIT THEIR PERSONAL TIME TO PROVIDE LEADERSHIP AND WHO WILL MOTIVATE THEIR EMPLOYEES AND OTHER BUSINESS LEADERS TO MAKE THESE PROJECTS HAPPEN.

A NUMBER OF OUR BUSINESS GIANTS ARE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF PLAY JUST LIKE PHIL AND I. IT IS TIME FOR A NEW GENERATION OF BUSINESS LEADERSHIP TO TAKE THE FIELD AND HELP US CROSS THE GOAL LINE.

I HOPE THE CHAMBER WILL TAKE THE CHALLENGE TO DEVELOP THE NEW GENERATION OF BUSINESS LEADERS.

AGAIN, LET ME THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO OUR CITY AND COUNTY. AND LETS GET TO WORK.

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