The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors Tuesday opted out of joining an 11-county development group.
Gary Lalone, executive director of the Storm Lake Area Development Corporation, presented a request that the county join the 11-county MEIDC economic development group which would call for a $7,800 yearly commitment from Buena Vista County for three years. The group intends to hire a director to market the region to potential industries.
Buena Vista County has in a sense been a member of the group which has been in the formative/discussion stage up until now since the group has had not costs in hiring a director or paying for office space. Counties that would be represented by the group include Webster, Hardin, Kossuth, Pocohontas, Hamilton, Wright, Sac, Calhoun, Humboldt, and Palo Alto, and Buena Vista, had it chosen to continue with the group.
At the same time that he put the MEIDC membership request on the table, Lalone said the county was already a member of the Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission and the Storm Lake Area Development Corporation. Lalone noted the county's yearly contributions to SLADEC from 1999 at $44,360 for 1999-2001, $422,960 in 2002, $22,900 in 2003, $22,900 in 2004, and $25,000 for 2005. Lalone said he hoped if the county decided to join MEIDC that there would not be a reduction in the county's contribution to SLADEC. Lalone is executive director of SLADEC as well as of the Storm Lake Chamber.
Chair Herb Crampton said he preferred to remain with SLADEC. As for MEIDC, "Maybe we're not ready for that at this time," Crampton said. Crampton suggested that if the county were to join another regional development group, the Iowa Great Lakes Corridor of Opportunity would make more sense if that group decided to expand to the south since Storm Lake shares Highway 71 as a route with that development organization which represents Dickinson and Clay counties.
Jim Gustafson agreed there should not be a reduction in county support for SLADEC. "If we do something it's not going to come out of your budget," Gustafson told Lalone.
Gustafson moved and the board agreed not to join MEIDC at this time