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EDA provides some answers

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By Robin Bass

The Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc. (EDA) wants to clear a few things up.

Since the announcement was made last month that a wet/dry petition would be circulated, EDA has been the center of much attention and questions. At their last regular meeting, more than a dozen citizens on both sides of the issue came out to speak – and many of them had questions that at the time went unanswered.

EDA Executive Director Annette King stated in reponse to questions posed by the Spencer Magnet that the non-profit agency is not responsible for organizing the petition to legalize the sale of alcohol in Spencer County.

“Our office was approched by a group of concerned citizens,” said King. “They came to ask us to look into the impact this would have (economically) to our community.”

Members of the group of concerned citizens included: B.J. Smith, David Young, Dennis Eisenback, Connie Eisenback, Woodie Cheek, Davis Lee Downs, Bonnie Downs, Mike Driscoll, Bill Karr, Karen Karr, Tim Oates, Bob Jones and Dyke Platt.

The first three citizens – Smith, Young and Dennis Eisenback – were also members of EDA at the time, but acting as private individuals, said Eisenback, president of EDA the past two years.

Eisenback said after being approached by citizens in the community, a few EDA members began researching the potential economic impact of selling alcohol. During the course of their investigation, it was discovered that Garrard County’s economic development office recently went through the process of promoting a wet vote in the city of Lancaster. After seeing their success and the economic results, Eisenback said local EDA members agreed to add their support to a petition.

“We all agreed to move forward with this,” said Eisenback. “Some a little more apprehensive than others.”

King said that even after a year of research, phone calls and trips to Garrard County, “no economic development funds have been spent on the alcohol issue.”

King said that supporters of the wet/dry petition provided financial support for items such as office supplies – and that the petitions were not printed at the EDA office.

Answers to other questions posed by the Spencer Magnet are as follows:

How is the EDA supported financially?

The Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., is supported by two grants one from the City of Taylorsville and one from the Spencer County Fiscal Court.  Office overhead is derived from these grants.  Office expenditures included are salary, seminars or continuing education, and all other customary office procedures.

What is the EDA director’s salary and where does the money come from?

The Executive Director’s salary is $25,680.00.  Salary is derived from the grants mentioned in question 1.

Are members volunteers, or do they receive some contribution from taxpayer dollars?

 The Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., board members are strictly volunteer.  Since the inception of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., board members have never requested nor received reimbursement for their out of pocket expenses.

Please list the members, their titles, and their occupation?

 • Dennis Eisenback, EDA Chairman, owner and operator of Eisenback Construction and owner of Cricketz.

 • Joan Smith, EDA Vice Chairman, owner and operator of T&R Antiques.

 • David Young, EDA Secretary and Treasurer, owner and operator of the Tea Cup Cafe.

• BJ Smith, EDA Board Member and shop foreman.

• Martha Layne Collins, EDA Board Member, former Governor of Kentucky, Executive Scholar in Residence, Georgetown College Chair, Kentucky World Trade Center

• Jack Proctor, EDA Board Member, City of Taylorsville Commissioner, 20 years CEO at Kosair, 2 years President of Kosair, 5 year Treasurer and Chairman of the endowment committee, estimated value of endowment $ 350 million.

Did the EDA members actually have a vote on whether to begin a wet/dry petition?  If so, how did members vote?

 The Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., board members did not vote on this issue.

Does the EDA feel this could be a conflict of interest for an agency funded and appointed by city/county government to be the organizers of a petition of redress to the government?

 The Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., is not the organizer of the wet/dry petition.  Our office was approached by a group of concerned citizens. 

Services that the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., provide include loan programs availability information, assistance in site selection, client support through the regulatory process, conduct planning studies, and referrals for state and local incentive opportunities.

 When the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc., accepts a project, the first order of business is to sign a confidentiality agreement with the prospective client and board members.  This agreement prohibits the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority, Inc. and the prospective client from discussion of privileged information with anyone outside the board.