The next chapter on economic development

Although it took far too long to get to this point, the Council finally made a decision on Tuesday, July 5, on whether to continue to have an Economic Development Authority.  By a 4-3 vote (Rossing, Vohs, Pownell, Nakasian voted yes; Buckheit, Ganey and Zweifel against), the Council passed a motion (drafted by Councilor Nakasian) which retains the EDA and calls for a subcommittee of the Council to recommend changes to the EDA enabling resolution and other changes using the March 2011 Clough EDA report as a reference.  In addition, the Council will identify strategies and partnerships needed to accomplish the Council’s economic development policies (adopted June 21) and meet with the EDA to formulate a workplan.  The mayor will name appointments to fell the two vacant seats (one Council, one citizen).

I voted against this motion and for the motion Patrick Ganey drafted for more than one reason:

  • the duty of the Council to determine all policy of the City (we get that power from the City Charter as Mr Ganey noted in his motion),
  • efficiency: policy could be made more effectively and efficiently with one body rather than two,
  • transparency and accountability
  • flexibility: the statutory framework of an economic development authority is quite narrow and I felt it was worth considering alternative means to get quality input from citizens, the business community, and local groups involved in economic development.
  • leadership: no current members of the EDA have demonstrated leadership in trying to respond to Council questions, the Clough report, or other matters which come before them.  I have more confidence in the Council’s leadership than the EDA’s.

But I also understand what a decision of the Council means, so now it’s time to work to develop a good strategic plan to carry out our policies and try to reform the EDA itself into a functional body to implement the Council’s plan.  I am profoundly glad a decision has been made and we can now move past the question of the EDA’s existence.

2 Replies to “The next chapter on economic development”

  1. Betsey,

    I’m disappointed. What was the Economic Development Authority will soon be just another committee of the Council. I fear that it won’t be about economics or development and won’t have any authority.

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