EDITORIAL: EDA ‘decision’ deserves more thought

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Last Wednesday, Spencer County had its own version of “The Decision,” but instead of LeBron James announcing he was taking his talents to South Beach, Judge-Executive Bill Karrer announced he’d be pulling his vote of support to fund the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority.
Like King James’ decision, whether or not you agree with the message, many are finding fault with Karrer’s method of delivery.
Karrer was asked to give his state of the county address again to the Knights of Columbus. That speech was given only six days after giving that address during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
The announcement also came only two days after a fiscal court meeting where the judge seemingly voted in favor of funding the EDA with $30,000 of county funds.
Karrer explained his announcement to a Spencer Magnet reporter and while we understand the timing, the place was just unfortunate.
Karrer said the EDA situation changed considerably between the two state of the county addresses and if he had known on the date of the first address what he knew on May 18, he would have drawn the same conclusion.
We don’t doubt this, but it doesn’t change what actually happened.
A Knights of Columbus member himself, Karrer was in front of a friendly crowd Wednesday night and most likely knew his message would be well-received.
So, whether the intent was to make  his announcement among friends, one can certainly understand how it could be perceived that way.
And, while the format wasn’t ideal, we can applaud Karrer for getting out his message well in advance of the next fiscal court meeting.
No law required Karrer to voice his change of heart – let alone voice it more than two weeks before the EDA funding could face a vote of the fiscal court.
But he chose to do so – we hope – in an effort to spur some public discussion.
So let’s get down to the judge’s reason for changing his mind.
Karrer said he asked each of the county-appointed EDA members (Chair Dennis Eisenback, David Young and Mike Driscoll) to resign from their positions on the EDA board.
After hearing no response from any of the three, Karrer said he realized the board wasn’t going to cooperate with the county.
We are unaware of efforts to coexist and cooperate from either side, but it’s hardly fair to say a board won’t cooperate because its members refuse to resign.
Although Karrer claims he wants to work with all sides, he did say that his final decision has been made regarding the current EDA. Given the judge’s speech last Wednesday, it didn’t sound as if he was willing to negotiate on the matter, but we’re not so sure that decision was the best possible one.  
While we’re not ready to say that the EDA is a waste of taxpayer dollars and should be disbanded, we’re also not ready to say that it shouldn’t be.
What we are ready – and willing – to say is that some serious discussion  needs to take place.
Some local business owners have suggested a community forum to start a fair and honest dialogue about the financial funding of the EDA.
This could be beneficial, but perhaps the best starting point would be the meeting Mayor Don Pay and city commissioners want to take place.
A joint, open meeting between the city, county and EDA board is certainly a format we could all stand behind.
After that discussion, then let the decision be made.