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GCEDC seeking $50,000 professional services contract from Redevelopment Commission

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Greene County Redevelopment Commission tabled action Monday night on a proposal to enter into a professional services agreement with the Greene County Economic Development Corporation.

The one-year agreement with the not-for-profit organization would provide $50,000 to the GCEDC in a lump sum amount, starting in quarterly payments Jan. 1, 2011.

Earlier this month, the Greene County Council agreed to fund the GCEDC $40,000 from the county General Fund. That was a significant cut from the $130,000, which had been requested.

The council directed GCEDC director Joan Bethell to seek supplemental funding from the Redevelopment Commission after the cut was made. They also told Bethell to "come back" after the first of the year, if no other funding sources were found and they would consider some additional money from the county's Riverboat Gambling Fund.

In the current budget year, GCEDC will receive $120,000 from the County General ($40,000) Fund and Riverboat Fund ($80,000) revenues.

County revenue sources paid $120,000 of the $159,500 total budget for GCEDC in 2010.

In 2011, if the new contract is approved with the Redevelopment Commission, county sources will be paying at least $90,000 of the $148,000 total proposed budget.

"This year, they (the County Council) asked me if I would approach this body because of the nature of the work I have been doing for this body," Bethell said. "They basically instructed me to do this."

In explaining the proposal, Redevelopment Commission Attorney Marilyn Hartman stated, "We (the Redevelopment Commission) haven't been paying the GCEDC, but they have for the last two or three years really been providing some services to the Redevelopment Commission."

She added, "Up to this time, the County Council has funded it (the GCEDC). It's always been there and it has been free to us."

Hartman said the compensation proposed is for services that the Redevelopment Commission would have had to potentially have had to hire someone to carry out.

"We tried to calculate in terms of time and hours of what we need and applied professional rates and came up with roughly $4,000 a month, so what you are looking at is $50,000 (a year). This doesn't include any travel or other amenities," Hartman said.

Under terms of the proposed professional services contract with the Redevelopment Commission, the GCEDC agrees "to use its best efforts and resources to assist the Commission in developing and implementing economic development plans for the areas along the I-69 corridor, the interstate exchanges, and the WestGate at Crane Technology Park."

The specific scope of services includes:

* Provide research support and information related to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, and, in particular, the I-69 corridor and WestGate Tech Park.

* Act as a liaison between the Greene County Redevelopment Commission, landowners/developers and other agencies/organizations, as necessary, to facilitate the development of properties within the TIF District into marketable industrial, commercial, and/or residential sites.

* Provide research support, demographic information and other support documentation, as necessary, for state and federal grant and permit applications pertaining to properties within the TIF district.

* Assist in the creation of economic development areas in proximity to the proposed I-69 exchanges; attend INDOT Tier 2 Section 4 Citizen Advisory Committee and public meetings and other related meetings.

* Initiate county-level discussion to create a business development strategy for Greene County I-69 corridor; extract recommendations from the comprehensive plan completed in February 2009; convene a meeting/series of meetings with representatives from key constituent groups; collaborate with the appropriate bodies to create an I-69 development plan.

* Attend the Greene County Planning Commission meetings; provide research support, technical assistance and information related to the I-69 corridor, planning and zoning issues, and the approved comprehensive plan; attend public meetings related to zoning, and provide logistics support upon request.

* Attend the meetings of the WestGate Authority and any of its committees, as necessary, to provide advice and information resources on key issues related to the development of WestGate at Crane Technology Park.

Money to pay for the contract would come from the Redevelopment Commission's budget

Redevelopment Commission President Hal Harp said he personally didn't have a problem with the proposal.

"I think the more help we can get, I think it is needed," Harp said.

Commission member Jim Weimer asked if this kind of a agreement was the way it is done in other counties.

Hartman replied, "I don't know of any rural counties around here (that is doing this)..."

Commission member Ken Gremore asked if any other local government agencies were supporting the GCEDC financially.

He was told by Hartman there were not any.

Two members of the Redevelopment Commission -- Brian Sparks and John Mensch -- are also on the board of directors for GCEDC. They were advised by Hartman to abstain when the agreement vote comes up.

The Redevelopment Commission is expected to act on the agreement at its next regular meeting set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. The meeting will be conducted in the third floor meeting room at the county courthouse in Bloomfield.

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