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Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council...
Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council Contract On Hold
June 21, 2014
By Jay Mejia
The Lee’s Summit City Council Finance and Budget Committee has temporarily put the brakes on a proposed public service agreement (PSA) between the city and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council (LSEDC) in a motion unanimously approved during the committee’s regular meeting on June 17.
At issue is not the amount of the $217,968 contract but rather performance measurements amended to the PSA in a separate meeting by a different city council committee, the Community and Economic Development Committee. That committee on June 4 voted 3-0 to add three metrics to the proposed contract.
“The dollars are there, we’re just talking about performance measures,” said Councilmember Diane Forte, adding that it would be prudent to hold a second meeting with EDC and its new president before putting performance metrics in place. A retreat was held last month at city hall where council members and city staff listened to EDC’s presentation about its activities and plans for the coming fiscal year.
Councilmember Allan Gray concurred with Forte. “This is an important decision for the community and sets a tone between EDC and the city,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt for the council to continue to look at performance measures that echo the spirit of the retreat.”
Under the current amended contract, the three metrics would include the EDC creating an additional $2.5 million of payroll during the new fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2015; creation of at least 50 new quality jobs as defined by the Missouri Department of Economic Development; and the addition of $6 million in investment and redevelopment in the city.
Councilmember Derek Holland moved to table the PSA and Forte seconded the motion. The committee voted 4-0 to table the EDC contract and attachments of the proposed performance standards.
That action put the city in a “conundrum” given that two proposals from different committees – one for bringing the contract up for full council vote and another to table it – has never happened before, according to City Manager Steve Arbo.
In an interview with the Tribune after the vote, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee Bob Johnson explained that any decision financially impacting the city must come before the committee he chairs. In effect, he said, the Budget and Finance Committee’s decision to table the EDC PSA supersedes the Community and Economic Development Committee’s recommendation to bring the contract to a vote before council.
“It’s still in committee and cannot yet be taken up on the agenda by the full council,” Johnson said. “I hope we all meet again with the EDC, come back before our committee and then we bring the agreed upon performance measurements to the council for a final vote. We need a frank and open meeting about performance and accountability that the city is receiving the benefits from what we’re spending.”