City Hall file photo

CLINTON — Coinciding with the Clinton Regional Development Corporation’s funding campaign — Vision 2020 — the Clinton City Council on Tuesday pledged an $80,000 commitment to the corporation.

The matter passed 7-0 during the committee of the whole. It is a $30,000 increase from the city’s previous $50,000 commitment to the CRDC. The council will ratify its vote during its Jan. 13 regular meeting.

The primary goal of the campaign, reiterated CRDC board member John Eisenman, is to generate a five-year outlook on economic development for the city. But specific numbers are tied to Vision 2020.

Overall, the corporation hopes to create 1,500 new or retained jobs over its campaign; 400 of them hope to be new jobs that pay at least $16.75 an hour. Jim Hizer, a consultant from Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, explained how a study that commenced last March yielded such projections.

“One of our standard practices for a client like the CRDC is that we have a laboratory that comes up with economic impact numbers,” Hizer said. “I can tell you that our estimates are on the conservative side.”

The 1,500 jobs are directly tied to the CRDC’s campaign. It’s the spinoff jobs, Hizer said, that will make a substantial community impact.

Creating 400 new jobs would generate more than $22 million in annual payroll. In turn, this creates an estimated 993 other jobs throughout the business sector, leading to an $11.79 million net annual personal consumption expenditures impact. The remaining 1,100 job retention projection equates to 2,730 total job retention and $32.4 million consumer expenditures.

More jobs, Hizer said, means more dollars circulating in Clinton.

“The number means that if we don’t retain those 1,100 jobs, then you are literally taking $32 million plus a year out of the local economy,” Hizer said.

The request comes on the eve of city budget season, with the council reconvening Monday for its first of several budget hearings. Eisenman, the president of Clinton’s Abstract Title and Guaranty, said he’s familiar with, and sympathetic toward, the city’s budget constraints.

He encouraged council members to look at the broader picture — one with the buzzword “sustainability.” The city would be making a sizable delivery of funding; Eisenman said it could be the largest of any given by public or private entities.

“The city of Clinton being behind this initiative is critically important,” Eisenman said. “While a business can easily make a commitment for five years, this council cannot easily make a decision for other (future) councils.”

Council members acknowledged that $80,000 was a steep ask. But all agreed it was a sound idea to kickstart a campaign that seeks to raise Clinton’s economic profile.

“The reason I’m committed to this is because of the jobs and the things that are coming out of it,” Councilman Ed O’Neill said.

“I don’t think we take this lightly — $80,000 is a lot of money,” Councilman Tom Determann added. “What the public has to realize is that you are our economic leaders... In business, you have to spend money to make money.”

The $80,000 funding would come out of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. It will be incorporated into upcoming budget discussions.

Assistant Editor Brenden West can be contacted at brendenwest@clintonherald.com.

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