WAEDA director pay request denied
BY ALYSSA MEIER
Washburn’s economic development association will be digging into its bank account to temporarily cover their director’s pay after an application for sales tax funds to fund the position was denied last week.
Members of the Washburn Area Economic Development Association walked away from Thursday’s Sales Tax and Use meeting weighing their options after a $50,000 request unexpectedly hit a wall. Two members of the WAEDA board and Economic Development and Marketing Director Tana Larsen attended the meeting on Aug. 23 to discuss two funding requests with the Sales Tax committee.
The four present members of the committee evaluated the first application, which sought $50,000 to fund Larsen’s part-time salary for one year. The position has been funded by local sales tax money since 2016, when Larsen was hired.
The request hit a snag early on, when members of the committee asked WAEDA members to prove that economic development was making headway.
“Can you tell us how you gauge economic development,” Committee member Kevin Kirkey asked.
WAEDA president Newly Voigt said that there is no way to measure it, but that there are indicators. Voigt and Larsen explained that the local population has stayed steady, despite preliminary numbers suggesting the state was losing residents. They also provided materials listing different objectives that had been achieved over the last year, like adding a dog park to the city, completing marketing materials, installing the community sign and being nominated for economic development awards.