The future of an economic development partnership between Cass County and Logansport is about to change, the details of which are still being worked out by officials as the county heads in its own direction on the matter.
Cass County Commissioners created an economic development director position, appointing former Miami County Assistant Economic Development Director Christy Householder in late October.
Because the county is already involved with the Cass-Logansport Economic Development Organization, hiring Householder raised questions regarding the county’s future with the partnership, which already exists to assist with the county’s economic development needs.
Cass County Commissioners President Dave Arnold said he felt CLEDO’s service to the county was lacking, particularly regarding Hipskind’s interim status, which he said would force the director to take too long to develop the skills necessary to properly assist with the county’s plans.
Cass County Council President George Stebbins said the county has had an agreement to contribute about 11 percent of funds acquired through the County Economic Development Income Tax, or CEDIT, to CLEDO for the last three years.
This agreement expires at the end of this year, Stebbins said, with no plans currently to renew it.
“There’s not an agreement in place at the moment,” Stebbins said.
Funding for the county’s new economic development director position will come from CEDIT as well, Stebbins said. Last month, $20,000 of CEDIT funds was approved by the council to fund Householder’s operations through the remainder of 2014. A special meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 4 to discuss the county economic development director’s funds for 2014.
As far as the county contributing to CLEDO on top of that, Stebbins said he doesn’t think that will be the case, but wasn’t sure if it necessarily means the end of the partnership between the county and city.
“The county cannot afford to fund both,” he said. “We can’t expect the taxpayers to pay for it twice. Some type of agreement is going to have to be worked out.”
CLEDO and Cass County representatives met Tuesday, when the possible foundation of such an agreement may have been laid. Hipskind said county officials presented CLEDO with an option, the details of which he declined to comment on until the matter can be discussed with CLEDO’s board. He said the board and Cass officials are working to schedule an executive session sometime next week.
“There will be much more of a statement next week,” Hipskind said.
CLEDO, formerly named Logansport-Cass Economic Development Foundation, filed its articles of incorporation with the state in 1984.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him: @PharosMAK