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Marion has questions for economic group

Staff writer

Marion city council members want to know what’s in it for the city and a whole lot more based on questions for Marion County Community Economic Development Corporation approved at Monday’s meeting.

MCCEDC board members told cities in a meeting last week that they would answer any questions they submitted. The group hopes to get several seats on its permanent board filled and lock down funding from Marion and Hillsboro.

Both Marion and Hillsboro have balked at fully committing to MCCEDC over issues of representation and funding.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt drew up the list of questions council members approved.

He asked what Marion residents will get out of funding the group.

“We would like to be able to share and explain the message of fairness and consistency in response to the requests or inquiries of citizens,” Heitschmidt wrote. “This would be similar to a business plan in the private sector or a grant proposal in the public sector.”

He asked who will provide professional legal, accounting, and management services in the future, and if there are plans in place to have legal counsel at meetings before an executive director is hired.

He also asked to see a preliminary budget and the group’s projected timeline for hiring an executive director.

Heitschmidt said council members have seen three versions of corporation bylaws, and questioned whether the version posted on the group’s webpage are the current set. He also asked if the bylaws will be amended to comply with state open meeting and open records laws.

Heitschmidt said that while the city supports efforts to unite the county for existing and prospective businesses, he wants to know how membership helps the city.

“Please explain the benefits to all Marion County communities with an organizational structure and representation based on ‘pay to play,’” he asked.

He also asked how the group defines “unity” and the requirements to achieve it.

“The final question of which is the paramount question of our friends and neighbors is: What are the tangible benefits to the citizens of Marion to warrant participation and tax dollar financial support of this corporation above their participation already included in the county contribution?” Heitschmidt wrote.

Some of Heitschmidt’s questions will likely be addressed at the economic development group’s next meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Hillsboro City Hall.

On the agenda for that meeting are a draft of MCCEDC’s 2018 budget and an update on the group’s search for an executive director.

Last modified Dec. 7, 2017

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