Friday, 15 June 2012 01:25

Supervisors encumber economic development funds while waiting for progress with two groups’ consol

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Amador County – The Amador County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday to “encumber” $15,000 in economic development funds until it hears from two organizations that were asked to consolidate.

Amador Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Ron Mittelbrunn asked for the $15,000 “to increase our visibility to the outside world,” to update their website and “get the word out.” AEDC’s Doug Ketron said the request was for last year’s budget funds “to help AEDC get over the hump.” He said they had tried unsuccessfully to meet with the Amador Business Council, which Supervisors last year asked to consider consolidating with AEDC, but he said he left the door open to them.

County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley said Supervisors asked AEDC and ABC to work together and if they give AEDC the money, the Business Council gets none. He said the funds could be encumbered and held over to the next fiscal year.

Supervisor John Plasse said he did try to expedite the consolidation, as a non-voting member of AEDC, and attendee of Business Council meetings. He said the two groups signed an MOU and are now looking at consolidating into a single entity, but that has not come to pass, and “it makes it difficult to reward a lack of accomplishment.” He said he has supported economic development, but not any one organization.

Supervisor Vice Chairman Richard Forster said they can encumber the funds without mention of a specific group, and they voted to do so, and hold the funds pending results of consolidation. The motion also allowed for distribution of the funds at the board’s discretion.

Plasse said the line item was for economic development activities the county wishes to fund. Some goes to Amador Council of Tourism, the Chamber of Commerce and the State Fair Booth.

Forster said Mittelbrunn has been active in the past in trying to recruit businesses to the Carbondale Industrial Park, and has “been successful until they see the lack of infrastructure, and lose out to the 99 corridor.” Ketron said they have been looking at sewer and power for Sierra West Business Park, but first must have facilities there.

Mittelbrunn said AEDC gives loans for new construction but has not had a loan in three years. Ketron said AEDC’s role is business expansion and retention. They renegotiate financing, get Small Business Administration loans and help businesses stay open and remain in the county. He said they need policy from Supervisors to make the county as hospitable as possible.

Supervisor Ted Novelli said he knew of a couple of businesses that were kept open thanks to AEDC. Forster said the county could help AEDC with office space and a phone, and Novelli said support could also come from Information Technology. Mittelbrunn said his board declined the generous offer to remain separate from county government.

Story by Jim Reece This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 4588 times Last modified on Friday, 15 June 2012 01:37