LCDC president comments on Basehor’s withdrawal

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The president of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation says the organization was acting in accordance with its mission in assisting a Basehor business that plans to relocate to another area of the county.

Word that the business is moving from Basehor has led that city to discontinue its membership with LCDC.

LCDC President Josh Hoppes addressed Basehor’s withdrawal from the economic development organization Thursday during a meeting of the LCDC Board of Directors.

“I have discussed the issues at length with (LCDC Executive Director Steve Jack), and I am confident our staff acted in accordance with the mission of this organization,” Hoppes said.

LCDC traditionally has received funding from the county’s four largest cities, including Basehor, and the county government. The organization also receives funding from private sector partners.

Basehor City Administrator Leslee Rivarola announced Wednesday to county commissioners that Basehor was discontinuing its participation in LCDC.

Rivarola told commissioners that Basehor had worked with LCDC to retain and expand a business in the city. But city officials learned the Basehor business was moving to another location in Leavenworth County.

Rivarola did not name the business.

“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.

Hoppes said Thursday he did not feel it would be appropriate to get into specifics about why Basehor city officials are unhappy with LCDC. But he said a member of LCDC’s staff worked with the Basehor business to help it obtain COVID-19 pandemic assistance and a workforce grant.

During the process, an owner of the business asked LCDC to provide information about available buildings in the county with at least 10,000 square feet because the owner was looking to expand the business, Hoppes said.

He said LCDC staff members provided information about available properties as well as contact information for the owners or real estate agents handling the properties.

“Our staff provided the company with the requested information and allowed the owners to make the appropriate decision for their business,” Hoppes said.

County commissioners discussed Wednesday having a work session to talk about LCDC and other issues related to economic development.

Hoppes said Thursday LCDC officials “look forward to the opportunity to provide all the facts about this matter to the commission and we are confident they will agree with our assessment that LCDC acted in accordance with our mission of supporting and growing business throughout Leavenworth County.”

During Thursday’s LCDC meeting, board members also approved a $336,998 budget for the organization for 2021.

LCDC officials had anticipated receiving $12,820 this year from Basehor before the city ended its membership. Officials are still expecting to receive $49,665 from the city of Leavenworth, $17,947 from Lansing and $8,929 from Tonganoxie.

LCDC officials also anticipate the county government will provide $87,143 to the organization this year. And LCDC officials are expecting $96,794 from the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

The Port Authority receives most of its funding through the county government.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR