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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LCDC brainstorms budget

  • The Leavenworth County Development Corporation might be changing the way it does the business of attracting business to Leavenworth County.
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  • The Leavenworth County Development Corporation might be changing the way it does the business of attracting business to Leavenworth County.
    The organization's board met Thursday, several weeks after both the city of Leavenworth and Leavenworth County both voted to forward 2014 fiscal year budgets without allocations for the group, in part to discuss the way forward.
    “As you all know, we've had some funding challenges presented to us here in the recent past,” said Blaine Weeks, the president of LCDC's board.
    The city eliminated the $47,508 2014 budget request from LCDC in an attempt to eliminate the need for a property tax hike. The county eliminated its nearly $100,000 contribution to LCDC in an attempt to gain more control over the expenditures of that group and its partner organization, the Leavenworth County Port Authority, which the county alone funds and whose allocation was also cut.
    “Our executive committee — the LCDC executive committee — along the port authority, are still in discussions trying to put a plan together for 2014,” Weeks said.
    There are two components to what that kind of plan would look like, he said — there are immediate concerns, like filling the position that later this month will be left open by the departure of Cecilia Harry, the group's economic development coordinator.
    “The second thing is what our 2014 budget will look like,” he said.
    LCDC's Executive Director, Steve Jack, said there are some ideas as for how to proceed in both regards.
    “Because of the uncertain nature of funding for 2014 and beyond, speaking to the executive committee, I had suggested that we perhaps explore hiring a part-time consultant to perform kind of the core functions of the business expansion and retention part of what Cecilia has done so well for us,” he said. “I just can't see us not doing those core functions.”
    Other duties will need to be allocated to the remaining two staff members, while others, like social media outreach, will be scaled back.
    If a part-time consulting position doesn't work, Jack said it's possible the organization could go through a more traditional hiring process, though he also warned that could be difficult because of the funding situation.
    “If we did what we did in the past to attract somebody the caliber of Cecilia or Victoria (Ogier, Harry's predecessor) — those folks read the paper,” he said.
    As for the long term, Jack said LCDC will be talking to LCPA about how to approach expenditures for the next year and beyond.
    “I think we heard pretty clearly from both commissions that we need to dip into the CDs that we have in reserve for LCDC and port authority needs to dip into their job creation and retention fund for use in operational funds for 2014,” he said. “The funds are there.”
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