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Hiram council re-evaluates economic development
by Adam Elrod
February 06, 2013 02:21 PM | 1586 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Some Hiram City Council members are questioning the value of the county’s sole economic development agency to the city as they weigh a $50,000 annual contribution.

In the city’s Jan. 29 work session, the council heard from Paulding Economic Development board member Jim Croft, who said he wanted to understand what services the council expected from the organization.

The contract with the development group is worth $50,000 each year. Councilman Pep Rollins said the city has an annual contract with the county for use of its jail coming up for renewal and it likely will increase. Council members do not feel they have money in the budget to pay the development agency, he said.

“We don’t want to just spend that money,” he said.

Paulding Economic Development is a public-private entity created in 2010 to market Paulding County to potential employers and retailers. Its funding comes from the county and city governments and Paulding Chamber of Commerce.

“We did quite well before [2010],” Rollins said.

If council members do not sign the contract to provide funds to the agency it does not mean the city will not sign again in later years, he said.

In other action at the work session, the council discussed if the city should do a water rate study. Right now the city is losing money by providing water to residents and businesses, said City Manager Robbie Rokovitz.

The study will be performed by Stevenson & Palmer Engineering Inc., and will cost no more than $4,000.

Stevenson & Palmer will look over data on the city’s billing procedures and see if rates are where they should be to cover the cost of providing water service, according to the company’s proposal.

“We need to generate revenue,” Rokovitz said.

The council also received its audit for the budget year which ended June 30, 2012. The audit was performed by James Whitaker, who praised the city on its budgeting procedures.

“You have some areas you can improve on, but overall you get an A,” Whitaker said.

He found the city has very little debt, and the majority of it comes from post employment benefits, he said.

“I feel better about the numbers; it shows we aren’t wasting our money,” Rollins said.

Whitaker said none of his other customers are in a better financial position than Hiram.

Other issues discussed in the session were the draft of a new sign ordinance, and changes to the city’s charter.

The revised charter will include such items as the city manager’s spending limits, and a change in what can be defined as a quorum.

A quorum is the minimum number of council members needed to make a vote legal. The council discussed a quorum that will be at least three of the five council members.

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