• Last modified 794 days ago (July 26, 2018)


Economic panel still seeking direction

Staff writer

Five spectators who attended Tuesday’s meeting of Marion County Community Economic Development Corp. outnumbered board members.

When the meeting began, just two board members were present — Merlyn Entz and Hannah Bourbon. They decided to go ahead with the meeting but make no decisions.

When board member Mike Beneke arrived 50 minutes later, they said a quorum was present, although the group’s website lists eight board members. Still no decisions were made.

Onlookers included potential board member Aleen Ratzlaff, county commissioner Dianne Novak, Hillsboro economic development director Anthony Roy, and two reporters. Ratzlaff also works from time to time as a reporter.

The board talked about what direction it should take, inviting spectators to offer suggestions.

A reporter for another publication suggested having better communication with media.

Corporation administrative assistant Katherine Young waved her hand and said, “You can’t trust anything you read in a newspaper.”

Entz said he thought two important goals were to recruit young people to live in the county and to increase awareness of federal funding for farmers.

“For me, it’s conservation,” Entz said.

He said millennials were drawn to beauty and social opportunities.

Ratzlaff said they also were attracted to social justice issues.

“Most young people don’t move where their job is; they move where they want to be and hope they find a job,” Roy said.

No consensus was apparent.

“On this bigger picture stuff, I just don’t know where to start,” Entz said. “I want people to tell us what they want us to do and not do.”

Young said the group should appoint a public information person.

“Logically, that would be me,” she said.

She handed out an open records request form listing charges of $5 per 15 minutes of research time and 25 cents per copy.

Spectators said the charges were high, and Entz suggested cities in the county should be contacted to find out what they charge.

“This is what Marion charged me,” Young said.

Most local governments waive charges for legitimate media requests.

Last modified July 26, 2018