Archive for Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Douglas County commissioners review spending of $350,000 that would help economic development

February 16, 2011


Douglas County commissioners Wednesday reviewed a policy proposal that would determine how $350,000 will be distributed to help spur economic development.

Commissioners decided to wait until next week’s meeting to make a final decision on the economic development policy, though they said they were only looking for a few minor wording changes that would make the final policy more flexible. For example, they chose to change the words “high-skilled jobs” to “quality jobs” to ensure that many different types of jobs and companies could be considered for funding.

Commissioner Jim Flory also re-emphasized the group’s commitment to the biosciences by adding language that specifically denoted that as an area to be considered for funding.

The development fund, which gets its money through a recent property tax increase, would distribute $350,000 to projects located within Douglas County. Financing the economic development fund with property taxes was originally a controversial subject among commissioners and Douglas County residents, but commissioners were in agreement Wednesday about how to distribute the money now that the development fund has been created and passed.

Of the $350,000, $30,000 will be used to create a revolving loan fund, and another $20,000 would be used to create job training and workforce development opportunities in Douglas County. The remaining $300,000 would act as general funding for projects that meet policy requirements. Commissioners said these amounts would be flexible.

The policy, which intentionally uses vague wording in order to retain flexibility, would encourage existing industry to expand and assist new business start-ups and recruit new companies from out-of-state and internationally. It would also encourage high technology and research-based businesses that add to the quality of life in Douglas County.

The commissioners expect to pass the policy at their Feb. 23 meeting without discussion.


cowboy 7 years, 4 months ago

Taking into account the past performance of government development efforts , KTEC , the Bioscience Authority , the city's subsidy of one small company , the devo monies should be predominantly targeted at training efforts for young and displaced workers. I for one , see no benefit in underwriting bio firms from out of state who generate no new local jobs.

We have a scientist in Wichita cryin cuz he's only been given 6-7 million. Good Lord.

Until the county and the city realize their best resources are right in front of their noses in young people who will start businesses , and supporting the start ups of all kinds in the city and county , these monies will be tossed away as they are today.

Give me a robust vo-tech school and a business incubator district and I'll show you a business building , money making , tax paying machine !

John Hamm 7 years, 4 months ago

"Give me a robust vo-tech school and a business incubator district and I'll show you a business building , money making , tax paying machine !" How true Cowboy, how true. But Douglas County want's "HI Tech" oh I'm sorry "quality" jobs......

Sigmund 7 years, 4 months ago

"The policy, which intentionally uses vague wording in order to retain flexibility," read the county version of crony capitalism , corporate welfare for commissioners buddies to spend it as they like. Why not return the money to those in the county that paid it, so they can spend it supporting the businesses they prefer, purchasing the goods and services they need? Personally I would put it in the general fund and save it for a rainy day, because despite what the federal weatherman says the current economic storm is far from over, and it has only just begun to rain.

jmadison 7 years, 4 months ago

Thellman and Gaughan voted for the higher taxes for this version of crony capitalism. Flory voted against it. However, Flory is the only one mentioned in the article. Credit for credit due should be given to Thellman and to Gaughan.

ralphralph 7 years, 4 months ago

Economic Development = Cronyism, plain and simple.

Waiting for this failed model to die.

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