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EDC gets half of the raise it wanted

The county's economic development agency will get an extra $50,000 next year.

By SAUNDRA AMRHEIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 12, 2002


The county's economic development agency will get an extra $50,000 next year.

NEW PORT RICHEY -- The Economic Development Council will receive an additional $50,000 this new budget year, only half of what it requested.

The County Commission voted Wednesday to give the EDC $350,000 in the budget year that starts Oct. 1, almost a 17-percent increase.

The increase, approved during a commission meeting at the West Pasco Government Center, is half the $100,000 the EDC requested to help fully fund a business recruitment position created this year.

Last year, the EDC also asked for a $100,000 increase. But the commission gave it $50,000 then, as well.

EDC officials said money exists for the recruitment position in the business incentive account, but that account likely will be depleted around the first of the year.

This fiscal year, the EDC has raised $121,450 in private contributions.

Last fiscal year, the EDC says it helped create 464 jobs; $180-million in capital investment; and added 402,562 square feet to the tax rolls.

In light of the county's other pressing needs, the commissioners decided to cut the EDC's request in half, an amount they said could still help the agency meet its goals while attracting additional investment.

In other business: County Commission meetings could be cut to every other week rather than four times a month. Commissioner Ted Schrader proposed the commission cut back on its weekly gatherings. The lighter meeting schedule would save time for the county staff to prepare for a slew of citizen meetings to pore over the county's land-use map. County commissioners intend to participate in some of the subcommittees as part of the state-required periodic review.

Commissioners said the weeks without meetings could be reserved for workshops, in which they informally discuss meaty issues, or for meeting with constituents.

Commissioners asked Administrator John Gallagher to bring back some proposals later this month.

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