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Russell City Council, Russell County Commission Meet to Review Proposed Economic Development Agreement

Russell City Council and Russell County Commission Joint Meeting 5-23-23
Russell City Council and Russell County Commission Joint Meeting 5-23-23

The Russell City Council and Russell County Commission met together for a special meeting Tuesday at the Russell County Courthouse to review and discuss a proposed new economic development agreement.

According to City staff, the current economic development agreement is dated August 1991 and is between the City of Russell, Russell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Russell County Board of Commissioners. The 1991 agreement does not reflect current practice.

Russell County Administrator John Fletcher sent a revised economic development agreement for review to City of Russell staff.

Following review and discussion, the City Council's feedback from the May 2 meeting was sent to Fletcher and the County Commissioners.

Russell Mayor Jim Cross then asked this come back on the May 16 agenda for further City Council feedback and discussion.

Fletcher, Russell County Economic Development Director Mike Parsons, the County Commissioners, the City Council and Russell City Manager Jon Quinday all attended Tuesday's special meeting after the City Council requested the joint meeting to review and discuss the proposed economic development agreement.

No action was taken at Tuesday's special meeting, but City Council President Dustin Madden and County Commission Chairman Duke Strobel, along with other members of the Council and Commission, discussed areas of concern and needed clarification in the new agreement.

A couple of those areas of concern related to funding given annually to Russell County Economic Development from the City of Russell and reporting practices of Economic Development to the City Council.

The new agreement requires the City of Russell give a certain amount of funding to Economic Development every year, whereas the current agreement does not require that certain amount.

And the reporting practices conversation simply related to the need for Economic Development to give quarterly or at least regular reports to the City Council regarding projects and what the City's money is going toward.

Again, no action was taken, but as Councilmember Blaine Stoppel said, the consensus at the end of the hour-long meeting was to work toward better communication for the betterment of the community.

Audio file

Both governing bodies are expected to continue the conversation about the new agreement and finalize it in the coming weeks.