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June 3, 2014

Funding for RCIDA in jeopardy

Last year’s employee raises puts the squeeze on economic development

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County Commissioners Kirt Thacker and Mike Helm’s decision in October 2013 to give $649,000 in employee raises has stalled funding for economic development in Rogers County.
Thacker asked the board Monday to provide $300,000 to the Rogers County Industrial Development Authority. 
Commissioner Dan DeLozier pointed out the issue and reminded Thacker the pay raises depleted the account, leaving approximately $110,000 available.
“I have a motion for $300,000, we don’t have enough money,” DeLozier said. “…I do want to make something real clear. I am behind RCIDA 100 percent. These funds should have been kept in this account, they weren’t. That has been an issue with me. I voted against this [the pay increases] last year. This money should be used for economic development. Without economic development,  our county does not grow.”
There is not enough money left after paying for the raises to fund RCIDA, according to DeLozier.
Thacker asked to table the item for one week.
RCIDA Director Mickey Thompson asked the board for their continued support, reminding them without funding, the trust authority would have to “shut their doors.”
Thompson said the funding would be used to continue the business incubator program. RCIDA’s strategy is to assist businesses by building shells for companies to convert into usable space, according to Thompson.
“I am hoping there is money available to do economic development in Rogers County,” Thompson said.
“What happens if RCIDA closes its doors?” Thacker said.
Rogers County gets the assets, although there will not be much left to use for economic development, according to Thompson.
 Thacker later said the reason for the issue was because the money has not been encumbered for the raises yet.  The excess use tax fund contains approximately $820,000. The money for last year’s pay raises have not been taken out of the account yet, according to Thacker.

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