Basehor withdraws from LCDC

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The city of Basehor is withdrawing from its participation with the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

LCDC is an economic development organization that traditionally has received funding from Leavenworth County’s four largest cities and the county government. LCDC also receives support from private sector partners.

Basehor City Administrator Leslee Rivarola announced the city was discontinuing its relationship with LCDC on Wednesday. She made the announcement to the County Commission during a meeting of the commissioners.

Rivarola said she was notified Friday that a Basehor business was moving to another location in Leavenworth County.

Rivarola said the city of Basehor had worked with LCDC to retain the business and help expand it. She did not identify the business.

Rivarola said she would rather see the business remain in Leavenworth County than leave the county.

“What we are discontinuing our relationship for was because the relocation was facilitated by the very organization that we fund,” Rivarola said, referring to LCDC. “That is unacceptable. That is not OK.”

County Commission Chairman Mike Smith said he believes commissioners need to revisit the issue.

“I’m not saying LCDC should go away,” he said.

Smith said the county has a problem and needs to find a way to fix it. He suggested the county should have an employee who works on economic development.

“We’re missing the boat,” he said. “We’re just flat missing it.”

He said the bottom line is return on investment.

“If you’re not getting a return on investment, then we need to look at a way to fix that and correct it,” he said.

Smith said Basehor is not the only city that is frustrated. He said commissioners “need to sit down and have a serious conversation on which way we want to go with the future of this organization and this county.”

When contacted Wednesday, LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack said in an email that he had no comment on the matter at this time.

The LCDC Board of Directors are scheduled to meet today.

According to a proposed budget for the organization, LCDC officials were anticipating the city of Basehor would contribute $12,820 to the organization this year.

The city of Basehor previously withdrew from LCDC at the end of 2017. But the city rejoined the organization in 2019 after Rivarola was hired as the city administrator.

Rivarola was asked Wednesday if the city of Basehor will continue to participate in the Leavenworth County Port Authority, which is a partner organization of LCDC.

One of the seven members of the Port Authority’s board was appointed by the city of Basehor.

Rivarola said she is pleased with actions taken by the Port Authority since its board was recently reorganized.

“We’re excited about what we're hearing from the Port Authority,” she said.

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