City creates board for businesses

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

FRANKLIN—When Barry Cheatham was elected to the City Council in July, he wasted no time in calling for the creation of a board that would study the city’s regulatory environment and make recommendations to council members about creating a better relationship between City Hall and business owners.

Since then, the “Business Friendly Committee” has been formed to meet that request. At the behest of the council, Cheatham volunteered to serve as chairman and appoint other members.

“I wanted to pick a good mix of people who have been in business and had experience dealing with the city over the years. We have people from the Southside, downtown, Armory Drive and the city,” Cheatham said.

Cheatham said that the main issues that have come out of the board’s two meetings surround the obstacles new businesses face when attempting to open in Franklin.

“Right now we are looking at what businesses have to go through to start up in Franklin. We have heard the most complaints about start-ups being required to go to many different offices to get paperwork,” Cheatham said.

He said the committee has already suggested a solution to the problem. “We approached the revenue commissioner about centralizing the applications process.”

According to Cheatham, the committee plans to work closely with the city to make Franklin more accessible to businesses. “We aren’t attempting to take over economic development’s job. We are just hoping to be another venue for insight on how to make Franklin attractive and friendly (for business).

“So far, I’ve been really happy with the way things are going and we look forward to seeing the results of our efforts,” he said.

Cheatham said the committee’s meetings will be posted on the city Web site and the public is invited to attend and listen in on their discussions.

Members appointed to the committee include Jim Hart of Hart Realty, Carlton Cutchins of Ace Hardware, City Council member Rosa Lawrence of Riddick’s Barber Shop, Elliot Whitfield of S.W. Rawls, Victor Story of Story Signs and Engraving and Mary Lilley of Coldwell Banker. June Fleming, interim city manager, and Donald Godwin of the Franklin Community Development office also serve on the committee as city representatives.