by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — After pledging to bring 50 new jobs and $250,000 of new tax revenue to Cass County, the local economic development organization has beaten that goal, its director says.
Executive Director John Hipskind of the City of Logansport Economic Development Organization says full figures will be announced at the organization's annual luncheon Jan. 29, but the organization had no trouble fulfilling its promise.
"We surpassed the goal and we will share all the details," Hipskind said.
He was mum until then on the specifics, but said six new projects contributed to meeting the "50 and 250 in 2013" pledge made by former CLEDO Director Connie Neininger early last year.
Those included four projects already made public — a truck stop in Clymers, the Sagamore Warehouse fertilizer storage facility and a new Dollar General store on Logansport's south side, and the Crestline Communities senior apartments project in the city's former McKinley school.
Growth in metropolitan areas nearby, like Kokomo and Lafayette, "has gone nuts," Hipskind said, but considering the characteristics of Cass County and the funding available to the county for attracting new development, "we're holding our own."
Funding for CLEDO in 2013 remained comparable to 2012, he said, when revenues from the County Economic Development Income Tax made up about four-fifths of the organization's funding. Private donations in particular were on par with 2012, Hipskind said. CLEDO's business members in 2012 contributed $43,525 according to a balance sheet from the organization's fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2012.
Marketing spending fell drastically compared to the organization's spending levels in 2011, the last year the organization had a permanent director for at least three months, according to figures Hipskind produced.
Fiscal year 2011 marketing spending amounted to $55,284, a figure Hipskind said included some purchases, like computers, that in later years were assigned to non-marketing budget lines. In contrast, 2013 marketing spending added up to $28,353 including nearly $20,000 spent on a marketing trip to Asia.
"We do things regionally where the expense is considerably less to participate," Hipskind noted. For example, he said, the county previously generated its own marketing brochures where now it partners with five other counties to produce similar brochures.
On the other hand, some brochures produced in 2011 probably haven't been done since and need to be redone in 2014, Hipskind said.
CLEDO's board of directors has chosen board member Jim Schrader of Logansport Memorial Hospital as its president and will hammer out other 2014 details at its first meeting of the year later this month.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME
If you go: • WHAT: City of Logansport Economic Development Organization annual meeting • WHEN: Noon Jan. 29 • WHERE: Cross-Wind United Methodist Church, 616 Ind. 25 • COST: Free for those who RSVP • RSVP: Contact Teresa in the CLEDO office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-722-5988