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PCDI Begins to Focus on Short Term Financial Goals

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Prowers County Development Incorporated (PCDI) has until mid-September before the economic advisory group, PUMA, Progressive Urban Management Associates, returns to the county to present its final review of suggested changes to the local organization.

PUMA will finalize its eight month study of the local county economy and make proposals for changes in PCDI; board membership and some specific goals the members have been urged to attain, mostly in local fund-raising efforts and a community outreach program. PUMA President, Brad Segal, offered to help the board develop criteria when it advertises for a new executive director and to assist in screening the applications.

Following an executive meeting on Tuesday, July 26th, the board issued this statement.  “As discussed in our meeting this morning, Prowers County Development, Inc. is working to return our organization to a public-private partnership.  The board of directors is committed to finding those in Prowers County that are interested in seeing our county grow and continue to prosper.  During our history, there was a period of 10 years where at least one third of our budget came from the private sector.  In fact, for a few of those years, private investors made up approximately half of the PCDI operating budget.  It is our hope that we can see private entities join us to ensure the economic prosperity of Prowers County for years to come.”

PCDI President, Rick Robbins, said the board will have to determine how members will approach businesses for donations and related partnerships. “One of the things we’ll do in our executive session is review the by-laws and articles of incorporation for guidelines to increase our board membership to the suggested 11 to 15 members,” he stated.  There are presently nine board members representing the city and county who are appointed as well as the elected members from the private sector.  Robbins said PCDI had received a $17,000 commitment following some discussions with PUMA and interested parties.  “We now have two businesses and one financial institution which committed to three year commitments for 2017 and $12,000 of that is committed for a three year period, which is a pretty good start.  These parties wanted to be a part of the operation following a meeting with the PUMA representatives.”

Where PCDI had been operating in the past with $50,000 contributions from the city and county each, for their annual budget, the balance came from some private donations, fund-raisers and municipal contributions from local towns. PUMA has recommended an annual operating budget of $135,000 and an executive director salary in the neighborhood of $60,000.  Some of that could be tied to either bonus or incentive packages, based on performance.  Board members will be busy for the remainder of the summer, securing more commitments for funding from the private sector.  They are hoping to accrue as much capital as possible in advance of the annual county and city budget schedule, as neither the City of Lamar, nor the Board of County Commissioners have mentioned a future funding level for PCDI at this time.

Robbins said the PCDI business manager, Carla Scranton, has been charged with reviewing past funding efforts since PCDI was originated, almost 30 years ago. She said records show that the organization was funded mostly from the banking and business sector when it began.  Members included the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, Lamar Jaycees and others for eight appointed positions and 16 members by vote.  That number proved to be unwieldy and the membership was subsequently reduced.  Robbins said a review of PCDI’s history could help to dispel some uninformed perceptions about the origins and contributions of the organization.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeaturedHot Topics

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