Members of the Kewaunee County Board Finance Committee expressed skepticism Friday (Oct. 2) about the future of the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation.
Specifically, Supervisor Tom Romdenne said the county needs to get a better understanding of the return on its investment in KCEDC over the years, including nearly $40,000 for 2020.
“We’ve invested three-quarters of a million dollars in this organization over the past 15 to 17 years,” Romdenne said. “I’m not inclined to support another $40,000.”
The discussion came as the committee made adjustments to the 2021 budget, which has another $40,000 for the public-private partnership that is supposed to be attracting and retaining business and industry in Kewaunee County.
The organization last week dismissed its executive director, Richard Baker, and will again be examining its mission in a new reorganization, said Supervisor Gerald Paape, who also serves on the KCEDC board.
But the group first needs to know what the County Board’s intentions are, Paape added.
“If the intent or the feeling of the board is to not provide any funding, then there’s no reorganization, it’s very simple,” he said. “They strongly depend on County Board support.”
No vote was taken regarding KCEDC funding for 2021, although Romdenne said at the very least any funding should come from the county Economic Development Fund, not property taxpayers. Dollars in that fund are contributed by Dominion Resources, owner of the decommissioned Kewaunee Power Plant nuclear facility.
County Administrator Scott Feldt said he and Paape will gather information for the committee about KCEDC’s finances and accomplishments in time for the committee and full board to review when they meet Oct. 20.