Additional contribution would begin July

The Hannibal City Council is being asked to increase its funding to the Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council (NEMO EDC) from $25,000 to $100,000.

"To provide a comprehensive economic development approach, to build the regional partnerships and larger organizational services necessary for a fully-comprehensive economic development approach, greater economic development resources are required," stated City Manager Jeff LaGarce in a memo to the city council.

If approved during Tuesday night's meeting of the Hannibal City Council, the increase in funding would take effect July 1, when the city's 2019-20 fiscal year will begin.

Tuesday's city council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in council chambers at Hannibal City Hall.

LaGarce said the funding increase is an investment in Hannibal's economic development future.

"Hannibal has enjoyed some great private investment in recent years, but we can accelerate this," LaGarce said. "When you consider the economic future of the community, new investment, jobs, growth of goods and services locally, the rate of return on this investment will pay significant dividends to Hannibal over future years."

The funding increase would represent a dramatic change of heart on the city's part. One year ago, the city indicated it was cutting all of its funding to the local economic development group and intended to create a position of city planner/economic director.

Following over a month of meetings between representatives of the city and economic development council the city decided to remain a member of the NEMO EDC.

The new year has brought changes to the NEMO EDC. George Walley retired as executive director of the NEMO EDC. Walley's successor, Corey Mehaffy, began his duties in early January.

LaGarce said Mehaffy's focus is on business attraction, retention and expansion, which the city manager said are "activities that stimulate employment growth, the capital investment, and valuation growth, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and assistance/business services to business owners."

danny.henley@courierpost.com