Planning and Economic Development Committee makes no recommendations

MAYVILLE – Although there is a slight increase to the 2014 budget for the Department of Planning and Economic Development, so far no recommendations for change have been made.

Mark Geise, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Economic Development; Bill Daly, executive director; and Don McCord, senior planner, presented their department’s 2014 budget to the Planning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday.

“I think it was a very well-presented budget,” said committee Chairman Fred Croscut, R-Sherman. “The Planning and Economic Development Department, no changes were made. We have got a slight increase, but that was, I thought, very well-explained. I would assume this would go through (Audit and Control) as passed with no changes.”

The department has not had an increase in costs in more than seven years, which Geise explained has been due to working to receive grant funding, and by reducing operational costs and staff. The department has reduced its full-time-equivalent staff from nine down to five – a 45 percent reduction – since 2009.

Additionally, the department has reduced the county’s local share by $120,000 over the past two years, but using grant funding to compensate for the senior planner’s position.

Croscut said he was pleasantly surprised to see an increase in the department’s bed tax.

“That was due to the amnesty program, that was due, in time, to get out and make people aware that we had the bed tax,” Croscut said. “Obviously, the $200,000 was welcome news, because it goes back into doing more projects to bring more tourism here, and is also an important player to the 2 percent projects that we do. … I’m very proud to have started (the 2 percent program), to have been on the legislature when it started. I’m very proud to see how it has prospered, and how it has been made available to this county from bed tax funds.”

No recommendations were made by the Planning and Economic Development Committee at the end of the budget hearing Wednesday. The committee will present its findings to the Audit and Control Committee Oct. 8 at 3 p.m.