Lander City Council suspends economic development funding program, citing ‘strong community feedback’

    The Lander City Council approved all of the half cent funding recommendations it received from the Lander Economic Development Association this week.

    The council also approved LEDA’s proposal to suspend the half cent funding program while the city develops a more formal economic development plan.

    “We’ve been struggling with this,” LEDA board member Eric Andrews told the council during a regular meeting Tuesday. “We have this program that we’ve been spending economic tax dollars on, (but) we still have no economic development plan. We don’t have any goals established to determine what the objectives should be to fit the needs of our community.”


    As a result, Andrews said, LEDA has “been getting a lot of scrutiny – because we’ve really just been spending money … without any vision of what economic development should be.”

    Councilmember Missy White agreed that it was “strong community feedback” that prompted LEDA to look at “reframing the goals” of economic development locally.

    “We’re listening to the community and being mindful of their concerns,” she said. “I am confident we can come up with better clarifications by taking some time to better structure it. I think it’s an appropriate decision.”

    Councilmember Julia Stuble opposed the suspension, however, expressing concern about the timing.


    “I don’t think we’ve given adequate notice of the pause,” she said. “If we want to consider a pause, I would want to do that with more than a few weeks public notice, (and) I’d like to see the plan for how we would use that pause.”

    Councilmember Josh Hahn pushed back on the timing concern, citing “feedback from the public” that shows the half cent program “is in dire need (of) reconstruction.”

    “There does need to be some changes,” he said. “I don’t think timing has anything to do with it, because we all learn by mistakes, and if you don’t change what you’re doing, you’re continuing to make the same mistakes. So I appreciate this.”


    While the half cent program is on hold, Andrews said LEDA will “develop an economic development plan, establish some objectives and goals, and then re-initiate the program – or some other program – to go attack those goals.”

    The move will “show the community that we’re serious about this economic development tax,” he said, noting that the ballot measure is up for renewal next year.

    For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.


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