Welch receives economic development report
Saturday, January 05, 2013 4:00 AM
The president of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County has submitted a report detailing his study of Madison's economic development efforts.
Bill Konyha submitted the report Thursday night to the city. The Madison Courier obtained a copy of the report Friday morning. Konyha was paid $10,000 by the city to do the study.
The 16-page report is similar to a presentation Konyha made Dec. 18 to the City Council.
The primary focus of Konyha's report was how to restructure the Economic Development Partners and make it more effective in its effort to bring new business to the county.
His recommendations included:
The Local Economic Development Organization (LEDO) should be retained but should be restructured. LEDO is a term that would be comparable to the current EDP.
Redefine the relationship between the local units of government and the LEDO.
Improve communication between the LEDO, local units of government and the public.
Expand the budget to enable the local efforts to compete on a global basis.
Expand cooperation within all local units of government but especially between Madison and Jefferson County.
The LEDO must become an active voice for community development issues.
Mayor Damon Welch said he will take information from Konyha's report and an earlier report from a Blue Ribbon Panel he invited to study economic development and make a recommendation on how to proceed with economic development to the City Council at its Jan. 22 meeting.
Restructuring EDP is going to be one part of Welch's proposal. Konyha suggested setting term limits for board members and establishing membership dues as part of the restructure.
Welch said he hopes to streamline the EDP board and create more openness in reporting to elected officials and the community.
The city's contract with EDP, which is for $80,000, expired at the end of the year and has not be renewed.
Jefferson County Commissioners and the Hanover Town Council have renewed their contracts with EDP for 2013.
"Overall, I'm very happy with it (the report). I think he's hit at a lot of the problems and solutions. But I definitely think there needs to be a change," Welch said.
Konyha's report marks one step in the overall process of revamping economic development in the city and county. Welch said his proposal to the council will recommend ways not only to change EDP, but economic development. The plan is still in the works, but Welch said an oversight board would be a part of the plan.
Welch said he will communicate with county officials about his proposal and ways to work together to improve economic development.
"I'm still meeting with county (representatives) and that's always been my goal to work with the county," he said.
Welch said the Blue Ribbon Panel was an effort to get the ball rolling and once a report from that group had been finalized, he began discussions with county officials.
Konyha's report and the Blue Ribbon panel report are posted online at www.madisoncourier.com.