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DCED stands ready to facilitate a healthy economy

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Dear Editor:

In response to the June 27 letter written by Scott Schaible:

Regarding the open special session of the Delta City Council called by Mayor Austin on May 29, I am not speaking for the other board members of Delta County Economic Development (DCED) who were in attendance, but only presenting my own observations. I attended this meeting, curious to the reasons why a special session had been called regarding an issue of economic development. Usually such an official meeting is held by a city council because specific consideration, input or decisions are necessary by the members of said council.

After Dr. Martin gave his presentation regarding the feasibility of a water park to be developed in Delta, the floor was open for questions. I personally was confused. Such a presentation would not require any official meeting. It seemed to me that in the manner the meeting was called, Mr. Schaible and Mayor Austin must be soliciting something specific from the City of Delta, or perhaps from the Delta Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) board.

From my perspective, the members of Delta County Economic Development that were in attendance were simply attempting to understand as many of the details of this proposal as we could. We were interested in how this development might be funded, who the developers might be, how this development might work (or interfere) with projects already in process, etc. As a nonprofit economic development organization, these are some of the things DCED does. In fact, when the attendees began asking questions about the development, and how the project would be funded, I felt that it was Mr. Schaible and Mayor Austin that became quite defensive and ambiguous.

Regarding the misrepresentation of my statement to Mayor Austin at the mentioned DCED meeting: Although DCED meetings are supposed to be carried out in confidence, I will address my actual statement at that June 14 meeting. I have NEVER implied that any outside entity is required to consult DCED. Neither I nor DCED have any interest in "running" our local governments. DCED has absolutely no such authority.

DCED does have an interest in doing what we can to facilitate a healthy economy. And I believe DCED has been successful at helping our economy on a number of fronts.

As a representative of the City of Delta, Mayor Austin is also an appointed member of the DCED board of directors. As Delta County Economic Development is a very well established organization in Delta County, and as DCED has board members representing a significant cross-section of our economic community, I was curious why Mayor Austin had not informed Delta County Economic Development about a significant matter of economic development. Mayor Austin has no obligation to bring such a project to DCED's attention. But if he's not going to keep DCED informed of issues of economic development, why is Mayor Austin the acting representative of the City of Delta on the DCED board?

If there are genuinely private investors interested in building a development as outlined in the presentation on May 29, then I suspect most of the community, including those on the DCED board, would welcome such a venture. Why wouldn't we? I for one would be very interested in considering how this proposed business might enhance some of the projects that are already in the works or are being considered. I would not be interested in seeing years' worth of the efforts of others weakened by something that is simply speculative.

Provided it doesn't undermine other positive things that may be happening, I wish Mr. Schaible's private developers nothing but success in their endeavor. DCED doesn't work blindly. But if DCED may be of any practical assistance in this project, I hope you will let Stacy Voigt know.

If anyone would like to know more about Delta County Economic Development, the website is www.deltacountyed.org.

Scott Thomassen
Orchard City

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