News Column

City budgets $2.1 million for economic development

August 12, 2014

By Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

Aug. 12--ANDERSON -- The funding of the Anderson Economic Development Department is being shifted from revenues received from the Hoosier Park casino to the city's share of the food and beverage tax.

To help create a $3 million operating balance in the city's general fund, $299,000 from the gaming revenues the city receives will no longer be spent on economic development.

Spending in the food and beverage tax revenues is being proposed to increase by $525,000 to $2.1 million in 2015.

Greg Winkler, interim director of the Economic Development Department, said the food and beverage tax revenues are trending upward slightly in recent years.

He said the tax generates approximately $1.1 million and there is a balance of $1.2 million.

Included in the increase is an additional $199,000 for business incentives, raising those funds to $879,000.

The business incentives included Colts camp, $120,000; building stabilization grant program, $194,000; small business $30,000; $100,000 for a building in the Flagship; $75,000 for job training; $110,000 for two companies; and $250,000 for the CREED District.

Winkler said the $194,000 will provide grant funds for owners to make necessary repairs to save buildings. He said the city will provide 50 percent of the cost. An application process is being developed.

The budget includes $448,700 for consulting, which includes $144,000 to pay Winkler; $150,000 to the Corporation for Economic Development; $90,000 to the Ferguson Group; $13,400 for Small Business Development; and $51,300 for general consulting work.

Winkler said the proposed salary for the director's position was lowered from $75,000 to $65,000 to make the proposed budget work.

"We're at the maximum at what we have to work with," he said. "The salary needs to be raised above $75,000 to attract a director."

Councilman David Eicks said if the position is not going to be filled it should be removed from the budget. He said the funds can be included in the future by the council.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.


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Source: Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN)

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