REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Get serious about funding the future

Elected officials from across Erie County say it's a good idea and they'll consider funding it. They are right: Economic deve
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

Elected officials from across Erie County say it's a good idea and they'll consider funding it.

They are right: Economic development is a good idea.

But it won't happen if the effort isn't given full support -- and funding -- by area governments. Acknowledging the need is a first step, but the most important thing needed right now is a sustainable level of funding for economic development efforts.

The Erie County Development Corp. needs to create a formula based on population, general fund levels or other criteria that cities, townships and villages can agree upon, and get the money flowing.

The development agency has survived for years with private sector funding and with minimum contributions from Sandusky and the county, and $1,000 contributions from some townships. The anemic funding levels of the past point, at least in part, to the fact that new industry has failed to take foothold here.

In other words, you get what you pay for.

County leaders and Sandusky city commissioners agree it's time to up funding levels for the agency, and trustees in Margaretta and Huron Townships and other local government officials have agree to consider new contributions or hiking up their past annual payments.

We'll be watching to see where all the good intentions lead. More importantly, county residents, already apprehensive about the Rust Belt lifestyle and the fear of even harder economic times ahead, will be watching and reading updates on the progress.

In particular, we'll all be watching for signs that ECEDC is prepared, as we called for earlier in this space, to spell out to local governments exactly how this money is going to be spent and in turn provide detailed progress reports on a quarterly or monthly basis to those investors.