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How did Norwalk land 230 jobs?

Register • Jul 15, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Congratulations to Norwalk. I would certainly like to know what secret economic tool Norwalk used for bringing 230 new jobs to the city.


Although Sandusky could still benefit from the new company being so close, it still isn’t the same as landing jobs for Erie County. Without any feedback, it is difficult to understand how the county’s economic agencies missed the mark. Was Erie County even in the running? It shouldn’t be an option for the economic agencies to use the excuse of confidentiality so the agencies can remain silent about why Erie County lost jobs to a small town like Norwalk.


Did Jobs Ohio present the RFPs correctly so that everyone had a fair chance at placing an offer on the table? Is there something ECEDC or the Port Authority could have done differently, and what can the agencies do to improve the bid package if the opportunity should present itself again? Erie County had more economic tools than Norwalk such as TIFs, tax abatement, and the newly formed Port Authority, and it still couldn’t land the bid for new jobs. I can understand losing to a bigger city, but I am having difficulty understanding losing to a small city like Norwalk, which is downright embarrassing.


At this point, does the city and county have to re-evaluate the money that is being funneled into the economic agencies? Sandusky and the county donate $30,000 each to ECEDC every year with the 

county throwing in an additional donation in the way of in-kind office space valued at $30,676.50 a year (public document). The grand total that Sandusky and county taxpayers are donating to ECEDC comes to about $90,676.50 a year. A 2012 public document has the ECEDC director earning $84,000 a year, which is probably more by now.


The Port Authority is being financially supported by the county until such time it brings in enough business to become self-supporting. The county has loaned the Port Authority $50,000 (public 

document) for startup money, and the county has reserved another $50,000 (public document) from its 2014 budget should the Port Authority need additional financial support. 


I have to give the county credit for protecting our tax dollars by having a written contract with ECEDC, something that Sandusky has never had with ECEDC. It is irresponsible for the city to hand over a large amount of our tax dollars to ECEDC without a written contract in place spelling out the performance terms.


When budgets are tight, the city and county should start looking at the extra $90,676.50 that could be available to the perspective budgets. Consultants are not cheap and the nonprofits should be financially self-sustainable or be dismantled. It is not financially sound for nonprofits to expect a long term financial relationship from the taxpayer so the non-profits can stay solvent. The more money that continues to flow into the nonprofits, the less money the governments will have to sustain the services that are needed to keep our governments operating.

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