In his proposed budget for FY 2015 Rick Pollitt wants to increase funding for the loosely described purpose of "economic development" by 161% over the current budget – from $155,220 to $405,220. The data posted on the County's website in the summary of his proposed budget describes the actual use of the additional funds ($250,000) by a single word, "grants," but provides not the slightest suggestion about how the money actually would be spent. A "Budget Narrative" issued by Mr. Pollitt contains this vague discussion of who would decide about that:
New for FY15, the Executive proposes a transfer of $250,000 to an existing economic development fund 67 (Local Match). These funds will be administered by the County in conjunction with business advisors and SWED to support economic development activity.
We could find no proposed use or even a more particular purpose for spending the additional funds. And there seems to be no identification of the so-called "business advisors," by whom "these funds will be administered." Could Mr. Pollitt select the advisors and dictate how to spend a quarter million dollars of the taxpayers’ money?
This is a scary situation – blank check appropriation of money is foolish. Look at how funding for the County's Board of Education has been squandered, including at watering holes like the Green Turtle and Back Street Grill.
Let's hope the County Council blows this “economic development” promotion charade by Mr. Pollitt out of the water.