It’s been a month since Tri-County officials said the Focus Forward Central Illinois process should be as transparent as possible. That includes calls that the area's new proposed Economic Development Council needs to be financially and publicly transparent. But final budgetary and EDC bylaw issues haven’t been finalized. Tri County Commission chair Larry Whitaker says both public and private money is behind the economic development effort:
“Economic development is not a private-sector franchise, it’s a public sector responsibility,” Whitaker says.
“If we’re not doing it to provide better jobs, provide more non-residential property development to take the burden off the residential homeowner, if we’re not doing it for that reason to improve our overall quality of life, then we’re doing it for the wrong reason.”
The Tri-County Executive Board also is withholding its share of the outside economic development contract behind Focus Forward until it gets more information on both contract specifics and transparency issues. The Tri County Executive Board will again take up the issue later this month.