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Task Force Recommendation Would Overhaul Economic Development

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 332

Mayor John Pritchard.  File Photo.

Mayor John Pritchard. File Photo.

UPDATED 4:30pm 2/27/14  The City of Galesburg’s Economic Development Department could look a little different with a recent recommendation.

The Galesburg City Council on Monday will consider a report developed by an Economic Development task force that proposes the construction of a new public-private partnership.

Included in the recommendation are proposals that hope to improve economic development efforts in the area.

The task force says it identified that the City’s Economic Development efforts suffer from poor perceptions and that confusion exists regarding who actually handles economic development.

Among the proposals that will be considered by the City Council on Monday include elimination of the City’s Economic Development Department as well as the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association.

Galesburg Mayor and WGIL Owner John Pritchard tells WGIL that should the proposal move forward, it would be budget neutral from the City’s perspective.

“We have a situation where we have duplicated efforts, we have efforts where we’re not servicing certain areas, neither group is, and it’s clear that communications has been a major problem,” says Pritchard.

The City Council is not expected to take action on the proposal on Monday, but instead will provide direction to the City’s Administration regarding the proposal. A nationwide search for a new Executive Director will take place should the new partnership has been formed.

Pritchard tells WGIL, however, that he’s supportive of the plan.

“Details will have to be worked out and at some point, I presume, some sort of agreement would be presented to the Council for its approval and hopefully that wouldn’t take  a tremenous amount of time, but with any situation where you have multiple parties involved, you can’t really control the timeline,” says Pritchard.

Should the new partnership be approved, new by-laws would need to be created, sources of funding would need to be found, and a system for reporting results would need to be considered.