City wants to hear more from economic development

By Angie Baldelomar

The Oberlin City Council agreed Thursday to ask the Oberlin-Decatur County Economic Development Corp. to provide quarterly budget reports on its activities, as well as to open up the communication channels between the council and the agency.

Councilman Jim Marchello brought up the issue, saying that the agency needs be more accountable on what it is doing. He said the board needs to have the same level of accountability as every other board and committee in the city.

Economic Development Director Shayla Williby said that the board members had previously asked the council to have a representative attend their meetings so the city can follow the corporation’s activities.

She said Pete Kampfer, the former city administrator, had been keeping up on what the agency was doing. He was the connection between the city and the board, she said, but after his resignation, there has not been anyone taking up that role.

After hearing Mr. Marchello’s suggestion that the city make its donation to the group once each quarter, after hearing a report, Councilman Josh Williby said that a yearly amount works better because of the type of work the agency does with new and already established businesses. He said he did not think having the board come and ask for money for every project would be best.

Mr. Marchello said he did not mean to hold the money the city gives the agency every year, but it was more about the council knowing how that money was being spent.

Mayor Ladd Wendelin said he would attend the next Economic Development board meeting, and asked that he get the minutes after each meeting so he can keep the council informed of the group’s activities.

After a long discussion, Mr. Marchello made a motion that the council get quarterly reports on how the money is spent. Councilman Brandon Oien seconded, and the motion was approved 3-0.

This story was published on page 6A of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 13, 2016.


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