Lindsay Councilman Steve Velasquez says he wants to step down as rep. to EDC over the council’s willingness to leave EDC altogether
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
LINDSAY – Tulare County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) management made their normal rounds over the last two months to let cities and the County of Tulare know what they are doing for them. Unfortunately the EDC has been met with one prevailing answer: not enough.
The EDC has even drawn recent skepticism from smaller Tulare County cities who have no real marketing arm.
The City of Lindsay met last Tuesday night, July 31 and asked themselves if they were getting the best bang for their 5,500 bucks. The overarching discussion was no. Except for councilmember Steve Velasquez who sits on the EDC board as a representative for the City of Lindsay and says the EDC has been a pivotal tool for Lindsay.
“I think getting out of this is a mistake for us as a City…if we want to get out of this board then we aren’t doing any marketing. We aren’t doing any marketing with our staff,” Velasquez said.
However, the discussion did not revolve around what it is the EDC does, instead it was about what the EDC has provided. On the informational item, city manager Bill Zigler told the City Council – without mayor Pam Kimball who was absent – the EDC has not brought “deliverables.” And without tangible industry to show for the money Lindsay is spending Zigler said they are going to become much more critical of their dues moving forward.
“When we look at what we have to pay for PERS and unfunded liabilities…come next year when we have to review the budget $7,500 or $5,000 is a lot of money,” Zigler said.
Zigler added he will be participating in a workshop between the EDC and member cities on Friday about what they expect out of the EDC. He said one of the more fundamental problems of being a member is the EDC does not take into consideration what the cities want. By and large the EDC recruits large manufacturing or light industrial type businesses, which is helpful if they locate to Tulare County, but is not always realistic or desired.
“I would love to have an Amazon distribution center here, but folks, it isn’t going to happen and we know it isn’t going to happen…but we could use a major retailer here, but the EDC doesn’t recruit major retailers,” Zigler said.