Fulton City Hall file photo

FULTON, Ill. — With a $5,000 contribution to the Clinton Regional Development Corporation, the city of Fulton has declared its support for the economic development organization.

During Monday’s City Council meeting, aldermen took one more step in solidifying that support by endorsing a five-year funding initiative for the CRDC’s Vision 2020 campaign.

What that means for the future is that despite the potential for a fluctuating contribution, the city is committed to doing what it can to back the initiative and the company for the next five years.

“I think lest there be any question, we certainly support the work of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation,” Mayor Larry Russell said. “We’ve just been in a funding pickle here.”

When CRDC President and CEO Mike Kirchhoff and his colleagues paid the City Council a visit in February to introduce the Vision 2020 plan, which encompasses a new approach to economic development in the Gateway area, he did so with a question — would the city of Fulton join the corporation in building a future for the region?

As Russell said, the city had little doubt in the Vision 2020 approach and has full confidence in the CRDC’s new direction, but when facing a budget deficit of around $107,000 in March, agreeing to a $10,000 contribution wasn’t a fiscal move the city could make.

But knowing what a continued relationship could mean for the city’s economic future, an increased contribution was still a move the aldermen wanted to make.

So, instead of matching the CRDC’s ask of $10,000, the council decided for this year an increase of $2,000 would be feasible.

“The $5,000 is actually an increase over what we have been funding the CRDC,” Fourth Ward Alderman Mike Van Zuiden said.

Though the $5,000 wasn’t what the CRDC was hoping for as a total contribution, Monday’s commitment to the five-year plan means the council can revisit its contribution over the next four years.

Which is what Russell hopes for the future, as the city increases its revenue stream and has additional money to set aside for its economic development.

“I haven’t kept up with what’s going on with the other entities around,” Russell said. “But at least that’s where we’re at.”

Clinton Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at amykent@clintonherald.com.

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