County Commissioners consider economic development contract

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners was asked last week to continue its customary funding to maintain in 2017 the services of a local economic-development group.
During Tuesday’s commission meeting, board members were urged to allocate their standing $250,000 to Southwest Michigan First economic-development corporation.
The five-member board is considering cutting back on its commitment to Southwest Michigan First, as its preliminary budget for the 2017 fiscal year shows an allocation of just $100,000 to the agency.
Jamie Clark, owner of Three Rivers-based Clark Logic/Central Manufacturing Services, urged commissioners to take a hard look at the potential cut in funding and decide if it’s worth it.
Meanwhile, Cathi Abbs, representing Southwest Michigan First, said it has received more than $4 million alone in funds for road improvements, Brownfield projects, workforce training and various incentives over the past five years.
Abbs asked the commission to give consideration to a one-year extension of the current contract.
Approval of the proposed $18.1 million fiscal year budget – which begins Jan. 1 – is set to take place Dec. 20.

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