The group that administers the proceeds from the now-expired three-eighths-cent county-wide sales tax for economic development will not renew their existing contract with the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County when it expires in October.
At a meeting of the Economic Development Corp. for Jefferson County on July 10, Chairman George Makris said the payment terms for the current contract, which expires on Oct. 1, no longer apply. Those terms provided that the Alliance would receive a percentage of the money collected from the sales tax in exchange for helping to draw industries to the county. The sales tax was adopted by county voters in 2011 and carried a seven-year sunset clause.
Earlier this year, Makris announced that the Economic Development Corp., commonly known as the tax board, would not seek to have the tax renewed. Tax collections ended effective June 30.
Makris appointed a committee to work with Lou Ann Nisbett, president and CEO of the Alliance, and her staff to negotiate a new contract with the board.
“We thought about putting out a request for proposals, but no other organization is capable of doing what we need,” Makris said.
Prior to signing the initial contract with the Alliance in 2011, the board sought proposals from other groups in doing the work the board needed but the Alliance was the only group that responded.
Among other things, the successful bidder was required to recruit businesses and industries that would create and retain primary jobs, continue a marketing plan to promote Jefferson County, work with existing industries to promote business expansion and other things.
“We’ve got over $14 million (in assets) and that will carry us for some time,” Makris said. “If we need to, we can always go back to the people and because of the legislature, we can go directly to the public if there is a specific project.”
Since its inception, the tax has generated an average of $3.5 million annually, and with two months of collections still to be received, the 2018 figure is likely to equal that amount. The most recent collection amount was for April, and to date, collections stand at $2.9 million.