Erie County commissioners endorse new economic development plan

PERKINS TWP. Count them in. The Erie County Commissioners voted 3-0 to get behind the
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010



Count them in.

The Erie County Commissioners voted 3-0 to get behind the Erie County Economic Development Corp.'s "Strategic Action Plan," the group's business plan for developing jobs in Erie County.

The resolution the commissioners approved Thursday incorporates the new ECEDC plan into the county's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Alex MacNicol, director of the Erie Regional Planning Commission and the commissioners' main economic development official, submitted comments about two portions of the ECEDC report with which he disagrees.

The ECEDC plan, written by AngelouEconomics, claims the county's flaws include "lack of proximate interstate access." Citing the turnpike and Ohio 2, county officials beg to differ, so the phrase should be struck, MacNicol said.

MacNicol also suggested editing a portion of the report that says during the past two years ECEDC "has created more than 700 new jobs for Erie County."

The jobs were created by the private sector, and ECEDC got help from other local agencies and governments, including school districts that are often asked to give up tax revenues short term to make a new development happen, MacNicol said.

He rewrote the section to say ECEDC "has worked with other economic development agencies, political subdivisions and school boards to support the creation of more than 700 new jobs ... "

County commissioners Tom Ferrell, Bill Monaghan and Nancy McKeen didn't engage in much discussion while approving the resolution.

McKeen offered the motion to approve the resolution and voted for it, although she said she had "reservations."

She said ECEDC, formerly known as GEM, had a "lack of communication" with other officials in the past, but noted that it has a new board that includes some good members -- including Monaghan, the commission's representative on the board.

Also at Thursday's commission meeting, Bixler reported county sales taxes for August -- collected from sales in May -- were up 0.33 percent from the like months in 2007. So far this year, sales taxes are up 0.03 percent.

In other words, sales taxes this year are essentially flat, Bixler observed. He said county officials are waiting to see how sales taxes fared during the summer months.