They won't speak as one voice, but you should expect to hear from members of the Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at Thursday night's agenda setting meeting.
Some of the board members aren't happy--at all--with plans proposed by ACC Commission members that would establish an office for economic development within the local government. On Thursday night, the Commission could decide to vote on the proposal at their December meeting.
Some EDF members would prefer that the local government fund the organization, at least initially, but that it remain a separate entity, like an authority. Based on discussions over the past few weeks, Commissioners say that isn't likely.
Mayor Nancy Denson appointed four Commissioners--Andy Herod, Kelly Girtz, Kathy Hoard and Harry Sims--to a committee to implement an economic development plan created by the Mayor's Economic Task Force.
At their first meeting, the Commissioners agreed that raising taxes, or public money, for a more strategic economic development effort needed to be accompanied by public oversight and accountability--offered by the local government.
the temporary CEO of the EDF, said at a meeting earlier this week that she believes the foundation hasn't been properly funded. She also thinks the implementation committee should have talked first to the EDF before making decisions about the structure of economic development in Athens.
She urged the Commissioners to slow down, but they seem determined to vote in December on the structure of the economic development office. "You have the eyes of the state on you," Chapman said.
Some members said they would "get behind" whatever decision the Commission makes. UGA's David Lee, who heads the university's research efforts, said he's been an EDF board member for seven and a half years.
"I'm open to the possiblity that [economic development] will be a government function," he said. "I'd be game to try."
The agenda setting meeting is Thursday at 7pm in the Commission Chambers in City Hall.