PCDI Prepares for Final Meeting with Advisory Group

Rick Robbins and Aaron Leiker

Rick Robbins and Aaron Leiker

Prowers County Development Incorporated board members held a brief monthly meeting in open session as they reviewed the agenda for their September 15th briefing with Progressive Urban Management Associates.   This meeting will finalize the eight month contract with the advisory group which developed a 72 page economic assessment and an outline of recommendations for potential job growth for the towns in Prowers County.

Brad Segal Addressing PCDI Board

Brad Segal Addressing PCDI Board

Rick Robbins, PCDI President, reviewed the one day meeting which begins with a 7am visit with the PCDI board, a lunch with Prowers County Commissioners, a meeting with Angie Cue, Lamar’s Community Development Director, PEP investors and a public presentation at the Cow Palace Inn from 5:30pm to 7pm before PUMA representatives depart on the 16th.

PUMA has recommended changes for the PCDI board, along with the name change, to PEP, Prowers Economic Prosperity. An earlier suggestion was to increase board membership through a financial buy-in from investors, to bring the numbers up from nine to at least 15.  Robbins said he’d like to see representation from the local banking industry, the medical centers in the community, tourism or manufacturing.  He said the response has been quite good at this point with donations at $32,500 for a three year commitment.  Aaron Leiker, Vice-President, added there have been no negative responses from potential investors to the presentation made by PCDI board members.

Robbins remarked there is a need for additional re-organization, “The plan calls for significant changes to our by-laws and articles of incorporation as far as how the board is made up. The PUMA plan recommends an 11-15 member board made up of mainly the banking and political industry, each incorporated community, public, private and nonprofit sectors and county commissioner.”  He added that funding will play a role in determining board members from the private sector.  Robbins stated, “in my opinion, this hasn’t been approved or discussed, but it looks to me more of, you buy a position on the board if you’re going to be a mover and shaker of the community.  That’s how other areas of Colorado and Kansas conduct their membership for municipal and privately funded representation.  And that’s how they move forward.”

The Prowers County Commissioners have indicated they will continue to fund PCDI with their annual commitment of $50,000 for 2017.  The City of Lamar declined to contribute in 2016, with the exception of a $12,500 contribution to secure the services of PUMA.  Both municipal entities are beginning to determine their budgets for the approaching year.  Mayor Roger Stagner noted that there are additional financial commitments the city is currently facing for next year and the council will need to work to find funding for PCDI, but did not commit to any specific support for the organization at that time.

Robbins anticipated an October meeting between board members and representatives from Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry in Denver. He said the group has discussed membership for Colorado Mills in Lamar with the Colorado Chamber.  A representative will meet with PCDI during their monthly meeting in October and indicated a desire to meet with Lamar business leaders regarding the group’s future plans.  Robbins said they lobby within the state for economic change and the Association is beginning to take a more active interest in rural economic developments and representation at the state level.

By Russ Baldwin

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