Published 6/12/2010 in Commentary : Editorial
All funding options worth a close look.
At a time of wage reductions, hiring freezes and other budget cuts, not many taxpayer-funded agencies would request four times more funding than they received last year.
Yet that was the pitch from the Finney County Economic Development Corp., which asked the County Commission for $590,000 for 2011, some $465,000 higher than its 2010 budget. (The FCEDC also requested more from the city of Garden City, from $89,000 to $255,000.)
Every elected official should want to make the community more attractive to business and industry, both existing and new. Additional FCEDC funding would go toward a reserve fund to help entice new businesses.
Still, the requests no doubt surprised many, especially as other taxpayer-funded entities hope to simply maintain current funding levels.
Worried about oil and gas valuations, county commissioners are steering toward budget cuts rather than a mill levy increase. Some agencies likely will be asked to do even more with less in the coming year.
If the FCEDC were to receive significantly more funding with others feeling the pain of budget cuts, support for the local economic development force could take another hit.
Local voters twice rejected a sales tax to establish more permanent funding for economic development. Because of that, commissioners must proceed with care when addressing the latest FCEDC request, and vet all funding possibilities.
And, they have to consider the community's long-term health.
In spite of past results at the polls, a sales tax that would fund economic development initiatives with ample oversight by elected officials still warrants consideration. Roughly half the dollars would come from visitors to the county, which lightens the load on local taxpayers.
Finney County recently lost out on good business prospects because other communities had more to offer — a shortcoming that's particularly glaring in a tough economy.
As the economy recovers and competition for those businesses heats up, this community cannot afford to shortchange economic development and hope to remain strong and viable.
The challenge is in settling on a funding plan that's least taxing for local residents now, but still promises to pay dividends in the future.
Found 7 comment(s)!
don't complain when we cant attract new business if we won't pay to get them here...
I guess that those opposing the funding don't care about the jobs and revenue created for their community by bringing in new businesses and industry to the area.Business and companies are looking out for themselves and if they can get a sweeter deal in another community then that is where they will go. We have missed several oppritunities on new businesses and industry because another community had more to offer as incentive to attract them. I suppose if everyone is complacent with the current situation and not willing to look forward to the possible growth of their community, so be it. But don't complain when we aren't able to attract new businesses, because believe it or not, not everyone, businesses included, is dying to move to western kansas....but they might with the right incentives.
Posted by: a forward thinker on 6/23/2010
JRees: No the do not have a "FINNEY COUNTY Economic Development Corp"(FCEDC).....
Posted by: :) on 6/23/2010
What exactly does this FCEDC do to attract businesses to the area? Has anyone been to Ford County lately? Do they have an FCEDC?
Posted by: JRees on 6/22/2010
Still not sure how this works...
So we give them so much money and in return possibly FCEDC will bring in more businesses?? I don't agree with spending this much money on probability.
Posted by: N on 6/16/2010
Use the tax money to make Garden City a better place to live and the people/businesses will come. In this time of economic hardships, you are asking too much!
Posted by: Laura McGuire on 6/16/2010
I put too many zeros in the cost. It is $1,600 per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Posted by: HS on 6/14/2010
Let's see, what has the FCEDC done for the county in the last few year!
Ummmm, well, ahhh; can't think of anything except take tax money!
Now they want over half of a millon dollars for 1 year. That comes to over $16,000 per day!
What are they doing with the money they get now? Not much!
If the county has that kind of money it needs to be used to quell the crime rate, fix roads and so on.
FCEDC should get the message after as many times the voters have had their say.
There are much better places to spend that kind of money!
Posted by: HS on 6/14/2010