Friday, September 12, 2014
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Logan County Executive/Economic Development Committee discusses Economic Development Partnership and Public Transportation

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[September 12, 2014]  LINCOLN - The Logan County Executive/Economic Development Committee met on Tuesday following the meeting of the Finance Committee. The committee discussed the Economic Development Partnership and the Public Transportation program.

EDP Activities

Bill Thomas, the interim director of the Economic Development Partnership, was at the meeting to provide a copy of the update he gives to the Partnership every month.

“We continue efforts in workforce development in the manufacturing area. We have a customized training program that we’re developing for Eaton and wanting to start a little later in this month. The whole concept of workforce development is really important for the economic base here in Logan County,” said Thomas.

Thomas said he wants to see the same efforts being raised towards increasing awareness of agricultural opportunities in the county.

“If you’re new, and you don’t own any land, and you don’t know how to do these things- there are a lot of resources for folks who don’t know about these things or sustainable ag,” said Thomas.

In addition, Thomas said he wants to see what the EDP can do to help the wind farms that are coming in to the county and the possible medicinal cannabis facility that may come to Logan County in the near future.

The EDP is also looking into researching the by-laws of the organization concerning funding and structuring of any future economic group that may come into being.

Finally, Thomas said he is set to meet the new Tourism director soon to begin establishing a good working relationship with Tourism and the new director, Sarah Wallick.

Ruben informed Thomas of the Finance Committee’s intention to allow the EDP to use the office space of the former Regional Superintendent next year. Currently, the EDP is moving to an interim location at the Logan County Farm Bureau.

Public Transportation

Pam Meagher reported the activities of the Public Transportation program run by Community Action in Logan and Mason Counties.

Meagher said that the program ended their fiscal year recently, and they are experiencing a deficit of $19,000. Meagher said this is an improvement from the year before, which was a $26,000 deficit. Community Action absorbs any financial losses.

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Committee member Andy Anderson praised Meagher for her efforts in helping to reduce that deficit. “They were looking at $92,000 in the hole and that raised a huge red flag to Pam. She said something’s not right,” said Anderson. Meagher said that Community Action was not filing for reimbursement from a federal grant for everything they should have been.

“It was a struggle, because we didn’t agree with what was allowable. We got the state involved, and they are very pleased with the diligence,” said Meagher. “My goal is to make the program succeed.”

The federal grant is the primary source of funding for the operation. Meagher also said that the grant agreement has increased by eight percent this year.

Meagher said the program has acquired two new light transport vehicles. “They are similar to the ones used by Lincoln College, or the high school athletic program,” said Meagher. Currently, one of the two vehicles is in use.

“We are talking about expanding hours to try and serve more individuals,” said Meagher. Meagher said she thinks the community still sees the program as something only for senior citizens. Meagher said she will be working with Community Action to try and get the word out that anyone can use the program.

Anderson added that Community Action is sending out questionnaires to their frequent riders for feedback from the community on how they can improve the program.

Committee members present for the discussions were Chairman David Hepler; Robert Farmer, Rick Aylesworth, Gene Rohlfs, Andy Anderson and Chuck Ruben. Board members David Blankenship and Jan Schumacher were also present for the discussion. Executive director for the Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership, Bill Thomas, was also present.


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