Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Development corporation’s budget up in 2008

December 19, 2007

In their final meeting of the year Thursday, Leavenworth County Development Corp. board members unanimously approved an updated program of work and a budget for fiscal year 2008.

The approved program of work stated that the mission of the organization is to "plan, lead and coordinate the necessary activities that will lead to the economic growth of Leavenworth County."

The document mentioned two of LCDC's main goals: to grow the tax base and to provide additional jobs in the county.

It spelled out what LCDC's different committees are executive, existing business, infrastructure, marketing and membership and enumerated on each of their objectives.

The $342,470 budget that was approved during Thursday's meeting is an increase of 20.2 percent over the estimated budget for fiscal year 2007, which was $284,877.

Reflected in that increase is a doubling of funds reserved for marketing and promotions, a 22.6 percent hike in employee salaries and benefits, a $5,000 expenditure for strategic planning and coordination and increases in line items for travel, conferences and staff meetings.

"I think one of the most important line items is marketing," LCDC executive director Steve Jack said, pointing to the $40,000 expenditure for 2008, compared to $20,000 in 2007, $10,000 in 2005 and under $5,000 in 2003. "When you're trying to market the county with a budget of five, 10 or even $20,000, it's difficult.

"With this budget, we'll be able to get the message out a lot more clearly about the advantages of moving a business to and hiring employees in Leavenworth County."

Removed in the 2008 budget was nearly $10,000 budgeted for 2007 for an executive search, because the search ended when Jack assumed his position in March.

Offsetting the added expenditures, the 2008 budget also predicted an 11 percent increase in revenue collected from private membership fees as well as increases from local municipalities and the Leavenworth County Port Authority.

Jack said, "We thought we ought to target $55,000 (from the private sector), which would be a 10 percent increase : It sets a goal that we're going to try to achieve in FY08."

LCDC's budget cycle for fiscal year 2008, which runs in concordance with the calendar year, will begin in January.

Also at Thursday's meeting, LCDC Board members unanimously approved the purchase of economic development tracking software out of funds carried over from the 2006 budget.

The software, to be purchased from Blue Ocean Consulting, has a one-time licensing fee of $3,500 with an annual maintenance fee of $2,400.

It will be used to track potential business prospects and will allow better communication with LCDC members, Jack said.

Jack added that it is the same software used by economic development organizations throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area and across the Midwest.

"(There) had not been software for organizations like ourselves until now," Jack said.

In other business Thursday:

¢ LCDC vice president Chuck Peterson reported back from the annual Kansas City Area Development Council meeting held Dec. 9, where 1,500 people representing 18 counties in the metro area gathered to discuss regional economic development.

Peterson said he was encouraged by interactions with KCADC officials and noted that they had been present at such events as the LCDC annual meeting.

"We're very much on the radar for KCADC," Peterson said.

¢ Jack told board members that "Project Zealand," an unnamed business prospect looking to develop medications horses, cows and swine in Tonganoxie, is "continuing to focus on Leavenworth County."

"We're really not in competition with anyone but ourselves to see this thing through," Jack said.

¢ Board members unanimously approved the purchase of a new phone system for the LCDC offices at $899 to be paid for out of the office supply budget.

¢ Board members unanimously approved the reappointments of Brian Habjan as membership committee chair, Mike Nixon as existing business chair and Tony Kramer as executive committee chair.

Sheila Lucas of Evoke Enterprises LLC will replace Andrea Adkins as marketing chair, and Chris Donnelly, a Tonganoxie banker, will replace Harley Russell as chairman of the infrastructure committee in 2008.

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