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JC-INVEST a victim of procedural oversight
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:00 AM
The proposed plan for an advisory board for economic development in Jefferson County stalled Tuesday night after the City Council withdrew the ordinance. The council plans to reintroduce the ordinance in a new form.
The withdrawal came after a procedural oversight was pointed out by Councilman Kevin Kellems.
According to city ordinance, proposed legislation must have a City Council member as a sponsor. City Attorney Joe Jenner said that ordinance may not have been followed in the past, but it technically should be done.
As a result, the Council had to reintroduce the ordinance, this time with Councilman Rick Berry as a sponsor.
During discussions prior to ordinance being withdrawn, the framework of the JC-INVEST board changed. Those changes were presented as amendments to the original ordinance and will be included in the new ordinance when it is reintroduced.
The biggest change as a result of discussions is that the sector representatives will no longer have voting power. The ordinance specifically states that the sector representatives will be in an advisory position only.
The five elected officials - the mayor, a City Council member, County Council member, County Commissioners member and Town Board of Hanover member - will be called the Executive Council, and will be the only members who can vote on issues.
In the original JC-INVEST structure, sector representatives were established through current job titles, such as the head of the Chamber of Commerce or the Main Street Director. Under the new structure, boards will appoint sector advisors:
The quality of place advisor will be appointed by the Executive Council. This person will live on Madison's hilltop or outside city limits in Jefferson County.
The tourism advisor will be appointed by the Jefferson County Board of Tourism.
The downtown development advisor will be appointed by the Main Street Inc. board of directors.
The small business advisor will be appointed by the Chamber of Commerce.
The education advisor will be appointed by a consensus decision from the Madison Schools superintendent, Southwestern Schools superintendent, Prince of Peace Schools president, director of the Canaan Community Academy, director of the Christian Academy, president of Ivy Tech and the president of Hanover College.
The industrial development advisor will be appointed by the Economic Development Partners board of directors.
The agricultural business advisor will be appointed by the Executive Council representatives from the County Council, County Commissioners and Town Board of Hanover. The agricultural business sector is an addition to the ordinance.
A vote by the Executive Council will need to pass by a three-fifths majority. The Executive Council's votes would not be binding on the legislative bodies included in the organization.
Within one year of the establishment of JC-INVEST, the Madison City Council shall review the effectiveness of the Executive Council and the results produced to determine the continuation of JC-INVEST.
Kellems has been pushing for greater communication between the city and public on ways to make the JC-INVEST board better.
"This has been a greatly improved piece of legislation and there are two or three things more that could be done that would generate additional public support," Kellems said.
One thing Kellems seemed to disagree with was whether the mayor and the County Commissioners representative should sit on both the JC-INVEST board and the Economic Development Board. The EDP board has a budget and is responsible for handing out funds, while JC-INVEST serves in an advisory capacity.
While discussion is still ongoing, Councilwoman Laura Hodges suggested the mayor begin working and meeting with the members who would make up this board to get the framework of the board in place.
In other business, there will be a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss the Christmas parade and possible decorations and other ways to celebrate.
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