Hearing renews REDI dispute Proponents of entity want county to leave open the possibility for funding

By Ken York The Daily Record kyork@lebanondailyrecord.com

The Laclede County Commission held a hearing Tuesday to seek input on next year’s budget, allowing proponents of Lebanon Regional Economic Development Inc. to make their pitch for funding.

County leaders will decide within the next few weeks whether to include a $50,000 disbursement of County Development Tax funds to REDI in the 2014 budget after withholding the money in 2013.

Presiding Commissioner Danny Rhoades and Western Commissioner Jack Glendenning voted against the CDT funding in June.

Then, Rhoades pointed to a newly instituted retirement plan for REDI’s two employees as his reason for voting against giving REDI the money. Rhoades said he had warned REDI board members that the county would not look kindly on it if REDI gave a “benefits raise” in a year during which the county could not give its own employees a raise.

Glendenning explained his vote by saying he had never heard anything positive about REDI.

REDI board member Jeff Carr told the commissioners that it can take years to attract a new employer to town, and Laclede County is constantly in competition with other communities who are trying to do the same thing.

<p>County office holders and members of the public, including members of the Lebanon Regional Economic Development Inc. board, attend a hearing about the county’s 2014 budget at the Laclede County Government Center in Lebanon. REDI board members are hoping the county will go ahead and budget County Development Tax funds for the organization after declining to do so in 2013.</p>

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