Thursday, August 31, 2017

EDC will need $42K for regional partnership

Crittenden County and its neighbors appear to be in the economic development business. Leaders of the new coalition met in Marion last week and agreed to move forward with what, for the time being at least, will be called the Lake Barkley Economic Development Partnership.

Over the coming weeks, it will establish a job description for a paid director and begin searching for that individual, who will likely earn between $60,000 and $75,000, plus benefits. The group figures on having revenue of $140,000 from public and private contributions.

Crittenden County has pledged $42,000. Lyon County is committed to $39,000 and Caldwell County $58,800. The amounts were determined by a formula based on each county’s population.

As it appears now, Crittenden County will have five voting representatives to the partnership. Caldwell will likely have eight and Lyon five.

For now, the group is keeping the same name used by the previous Lyon-Caldwell partnership, hoping its association with the lakes area will provide a unique marketing concept. It will also keep the physical address which is to a post office box in Princeton.

Now that the ball is rolling toward a three-county economic development effort, the question for local leaders is where to come up with the additional funding to pay Crittenden’s share.

Plans are for the Crittenden County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) to continue as a viable entity – with its assets of industrial park real estate and the Marion Ed-Tech Center. The CCEDC plans to raise the additional funds it will need to join the Lake Barkley Partnership.

At this point, CCEDC has annual financial obligations of about $35,000, according to information provided during its annual meeting in July.

According to a detailed report made public recently, the group took in investor revenue of $56,650 in its fiscal year ending June 30, with about 70 percent of that funding coming from four major investors – Farmers Bank & Trust Co., Siemens, the City of Marion and Crittenden Fiscal Court. There are some other sources of revenue from rental income, but not much.

The local group will need to raise at least $20,350 in new money to meet its pledged obligations to the collaborative group.

CCEDC owes about $280,000 on property it bought in 2005, hoping to attract industry to land north of town where the Tyson Foods chicken-growing operation was once located. The group paid $300,000 to get 105 acres, but it has only 90 acres left after deeding to the state 15 acres in 2011. The state has yet to pay for the property. The City of Marion has an option on up to 33 acres inside the park for construction of a new sewer plant, which could generate income to pay on the mortgage.

City and county officials had said in previous meetings that additional public funding isn’t likely to support economic development.