January 5, 2014

Cass Council approves budget for ED director

Officials pleased two months after creating position

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — Cass County Council approved the budget for its economic development director, a position the county recently created before leaving a joint economic development initiative with Logansport.

The council appropriated $101,115 toward this year's economic development efforts at its meeting Friday morning. Members voted 5-0 in favor, with Jim David and Phil Rains absent.

The budget ends up being about $11,000 more than the amount the county was paying into the former joint economic development organization between the county and Logansport, formerly known as the Cass-Logansport Economic Development Organization, or CLEDO.

Cass County Council President George Stebbins said the investment is worth it.

"It costs a little more when you're funding it yourself," he said.

Since becoming economic development director for Cass County in late October, Christy Householder said she has met with 33 companies so far.

Creating an economic development director position solely for the county has allowed officials to be more aware of leads and existing businesses' desires to expand, Stebbins said.

S.U.S. Cast Productions was recently permitted to receive a four-year tax abatement for an expansion that includes the addition of several machines and 30 employees.

The incentive process for businesses was recently shortened after officials made the entire county, except for incorporated cities and towns, an economic revitalization area.

Householder said she is continuing to meet with businesses and working on the website for Cass County economic development, which she said will provide businesses with further access to county assistance.

"I'm pleased with the budget," Householder said. "I think it'll be adequate and give me the things to allow me to do my job."

The county left the former economic development partnership with Logansport in November. The Cass-Logansport Economic Development Organization, or CLEDO, retained its acronym by becoming the City of Logansport Economic Development Organization.

The split did not affect the county's contribution to the North Central Regional Planning Council, a multi-county economic development organization. Cass County Council appropriated $35,000 to the initiative in its 2014 budget.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or Follow him: PharosMAK

Logansport's economic development organization says it has beaten its goals for 2013. COMING MONDAY