Representatives of the Barrow County Economic Development Council appealed Monday night to the Winder City Council for continued financial support.
Bob Saacke, who works for an Atlanta-based company assisting the EDC with a fundraising campaign to carry it through the next five years, appeared with Linda Moore, the EDC’s vice president and only full-time employee.
Saacke said that when the EDC was established three years ago, local governments and private investors pledged $500,000 in support, but that materialized into only $225,000 in actual contributions.
“It’s supposed to operate from a $150,000 lineitem budget, and there’s not, frankly, the money to fund that right now,” he said.
Moore said the inadequate funding has made her efforts more reactive than proactive in trying to sell large employers on bringing their companies – and their higher paying jobs – to Barrow County.
Barrow’s local governments collectively provide less money for economic development efforts than any neighboring jurisdictions, Saacke said. This county, in fact, spends $80,000 less on economic development each year than the county with the next-lowest level of support, he said.
“If we are going to compete sometime in the future, we need to change that,” Saacke said.
“All we are asking is that you fund us at the level you have been funding, with the understanding that in the future, as the economy turns and things brighten up, to compete we are going to have to provide more funding to the economic development effort to do it effectively.”
He asked for a one-year commitment from the city of $10,000, with the possibility of more funding as the economy improves.
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