Monday, July 28, 2014

Ottawa, county back economic development group’s contract

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 12/19/2012

The Franklin County Development Council will pursue its 2013 economic development goals under a new contract.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the 2013 contract with FCDC at their Wednesday morning meeting. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved its portion of the contract earlier this month.

The Franklin County Development Council will pursue its 2013 economic development goals under a new contract.

Ottawa city commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the 2013 contract with FCDC at their Wednesday morning meeting. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved its portion of the contract earlier this month.

The agreement lists several key services the FCDC is expected to provide to the county and City of Ottawa, such as retention and expansion programs for existing businesses, actively recruiting new businesses and serving as guide and adviser to the county and city on economic development matters. 

In addition, FCDC is expected to provide the city and county with monthly electronic reports, as well as quarterly verbal reports on the activity of the FCDC. The reports are a means of keeping the board updated on the FCDC’s progress, Jeff Seymour, FCDC executive director, told city commissioners at a recent study session.

The county and city each will pay FCDC $60,000 for its services. With regard to that funding, the 2013 contract includes a new clause in which the FCDC agrees that “no less than 10 percent of the yearly contributions from the county and city be contributed to an economic development ‘project fund.’”

The project fund will be used as a tool to fund non-operational economic development projects, Seymour said.

Project funds might include incentive funding, land acquisition or other projects required to meet the economic development goals of the organization, Seymour said.

The agreement also stipulates that “annual contributions to this fund shall be delineated as a line item in the FCDC annual budget and any remaining balances of the fund at the end of the year may be carried over to accumulate a larger balance in the fund.”

Blake Jorgensen, Ottawa mayor, said at a recent city commission study session that he was in favor of allowing the balance to be carried over in the project fund. Other city commissioners agreed with Jorgensen, saying they would like to see FCDC build up its cash reserves to create a war chest for economic development projects, beyond the normal operational expenses.

Members of the FCDC board approved the agreement earlier this month.

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