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City commits $50,000 to DCED

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The City of Delta is matching its $50,000 commitment to Delta County Economic Development in 2018, but refused a request from DCED to increase funding to $70,000.

DCED made the request to support salary and benefits for its new executive director.

In a memo to council members, community development director Glen Black noted DCED's "critical role" in projects that will have direct impact on the City of Delta.

"Many of these projects have taken place over a number of years and are now poised to bring results," he said. "For example, the City fiber network is lit up and Region 10 is working with internet service providers to begin bringing service into Delta. Other examples are the Better City feasibility reports. The gateway project has resulted in the river restoration study which then led to the current parks and rec master plan. The hotel study has resulted in the re-activation of DURA and moving forward with a project plan. The ENGAGE center is in part a spin-off of the food manufacturing study with the school district, through the technical college, purchasing a building in Delta. And DCED was involved with the school district relocating their administrative offices into downtown Delta."

Black continued, "DCED is also important because of their regional approach. Most of the granting agencies are requiring or give favor to applications coming from multi-jurisdictional agencies. Membership in DCED strengthens the city's relationships and provides important connections to the school district, the hospital, the library district and the other participating municipalities, in addition to Region 10, Department of Local Affairs, Office of Economic Development and International Trade and other agencies."

Council member Ron Austin, who regularly attends DCED meetings, said DCED is committed to increasing economic stability across the county. "As the largest municipality in the county, it's important we take a lead role in that effort."

However, he continued, the city is not in a position financially to support DCED to the extent requested.

"We have to tighten our belts, too," said Mayor Ed Sisson.

Council members also discussed funding a position within the city with the $50,000 commitment, but Austin said it would be difficult to hire a qualified economic development director for that amount. "We need to stay where we are at," he said.

At one time, council member Gerald Roberts said, the city's financial commitment to DCED was tied to job creation. Now the city is just handing the money over without any proof of job creation. He voted against budgeting the $50,000 in 2018, plus a request for allocation of $15,000 already in the 2017 budget. The $15,000 allocation, approved on a 4-1 vote, brings total DCED funding to $50,000 in 2017.

Delta County administrator Robbie LeValley said the county is budgeting $15,000 for DCED in 2018, down from $20,000 in 2017. She added that the county has contributed over $40,000 in matching funds for DCED grant applications.

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