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Economic Development Notes

THE CONTRACT WITH A CONSULTING FIRM AND A NATIONWIDE JOB COMPANY WERE ITEMS ADDRESSED BY THE NORTON CITY COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD LAST NIGHT.  THE CONTACT WITH PINEGAR AND SMITH EXPIRED ON SEPTEMBER 30TH.  DIRECTOR SCOTT SPROUL WAS ABLE TO COME UP WITH THE ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR THE CONTRACT ALONG WITH THE MONEY PUT IN BY THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.  HE WAS INSTRUCTED TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF NEGOTIATING ANOTHER 2-YEAR CONTRACT WITH PINEGAR AND SMITH.  THE FIRM HAS HELPED NORTON COUNTY KEEP THEIR EAR OPEN IN TOPEKA TO LEGISLATION THAT WILL AFFECT THE COUNTY INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND ALSO HELPED WITH THE AG VALLEY PROJECT ON A STATE LEVEL.  ALSO LAST NIGHT, SPROUL REPORTED ON A MEETING HE ATTENDED IN HAYS YESTERDAY HOSTED BY NATIONJOB.COM.  IT IS A WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY THAT HAS A NATIONAL WEBSITE.  THEY FEATURE CUSTOM CATEGORIES FOR JOB SEEKERS TO LOOK AT LIKE, SALARY, WHERE AND WHAT THE JOB IS.  THEY HAVE A COMMUNITY PAGE FOR EACH COMMUNITY ON THE SITE.  THE 18 COUNTIES OF NORTHWEST KANSAS WERE ASKED TO LOOK AT IT.  THE COST WILL BE DETERMINED BY HOW MANY COUNTIES OPT IN TO THE SITE AND THAT WILL BE KNOWN LATER.  IT IS MUCH CHEAPER THAN MONSTERS OR CAREERBUILDERS.  IT IS NOT A RESUME WRITING SERVICE.  THE BOARD APPROVED SPROUL CONTINUING TO WORK ON IT.  THE NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION PROGRAM WILL BE CHANGING, WITH THE FEE STRUCTURE INCREASING.  THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVED THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE BOARD AND WILL HOST A PUBLIC HEARING MONDAY AT TEN TO ADDRESS THE CHANGES.  NORTON COUNTY RECEIVED ANOTHER 100 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN TAX CREDITS FOR THE E-COMMUNITY.  THAT EQUATES TO ANOTHER 133,333 DOLLARS FOR THE LOAN PROGRAM.   IT IS A REVOLVING LOAN FUND AND SPROUL IS IN THE PROCESS OF SELLING THOSE CREDITS.  THE FUND IS GAP FUNDING FOR BUSINESSES WORKING ON GETTING FINANCING FOR THEIR COMPANY.   THREE COMPANIES HAVE ALREADY TAKEN LOANS OUT.  THE BOARD CONSENSUS WAS TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR TO SEE ABOUT THE WESTERN KANSAS RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE.  IT WILL BE PUBLISHED IN JANUARY AND BE SENT TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICES AND SOME TRAVEL CENTERS.  55 WESTERN KANSAS COMMISSIONERS WERE IN NORTON LAST WEEK FOR THE KANSAS LEGISLATIVE POLICY GROUP MEETING.  SPROUL WAS ABLE TO SHOW ONE OF SENATOR PAT ROBERTS STAFF MEMBERS AROUND THE COUNTY.  THE NORTON COUNTY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION WILL BE DOING A FEASIBILITY STUDY TO LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF THE CITIES AND COUNTY.  THEY ARE PLANNING ON A CAPITAL CAMPAIGN TO HELP KEEP THE CITIES AND COUNTY SELF SUFFICIENT IN CASE FUNDING FROM THE STATE DECREASES.  OFFICE PROFESSIONAL VERLA GRYSCH UPDATED THE BOARD ON THE GRANTS SHE IS WORKING ON.  THEY ALSO ADDRESSED POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR THE MONEY GRANTED TO THE NORTON CITY COUNCIL FROM THE HANSEN FOUNDATION AND TOUCHED BRIEFLY ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS AND A NEW GRANT THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR HISTORICAL PRESERVATION.  THE NEXT MEETING OF THE NORTON CITY COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD WILL BE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13TH AT 5:45 IN THE OFFICE AT 205 SOUTH STATE STREET.  ALL MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.