Focus Forward committee approves budget

Jul 5, 2013

The group charged with re-working economic development efforts in the Peoria region is closer to adopting a budget.

The Focus Forward CI Technical Work Group this week approved a five-year strategy spending plan.  The budget originally included a line item for a new Focus Forward executive director to begin this year. But some in the group complained hiring a leader for Focus Forward and other staff members would mirror the former top-heavy Heartland Partnership. Proponents say an executive director is needed to coordinate economic development in the region.

Denny Kief chairs the Technical Work Group. He says the committee decided to delay putting the 150-thousand dollar position in the budget until 2016:

“We didn’t see the need to jump into a full-(time) person when at the same time, we’re going to re-forming the economic development council which is going to have their own executive director. We’re hoping that some of those duties in this other proposed executive director will be covered by the EDC.”

Kief says the Focus Forward Technical Work Group and Policy Steering Committee could also take up Executive Director tasks. He says the budget also includes money for a full-time grant writer and a program manager. The budget recommendations go to the Policy Steering Committee Tuesday for final revisions and approval. The Technical Work Group is asking the Steering Committee to delay voting on the draft until August to better review the spending plan.