The Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce has requested a combined total of $28,000 extra funding from Geary County for the Economic Development Commission and the Military Affairs Council.
Chamber Board Chair Mark Powers was present at a meeting of the Geary County Commission where MAC Director Craig Bender and EDC Director Mickey Fornaro-Dean updated the county on recent activities and plans for 2020.
Powers said Chamber had requested the funds for the MAC and the EDC several months ago, while preparing budgets.
He said the county had initially refused, saying there was no room in the budget for funding increases. The county kept the EDC and MAC budgets flat.
In December, the Chamber made the request again.
“We feel that for us to do more, we need to have more,” Powers said. “We really haven’t done much on economic development matpat several years. And so now that we’re staffed, we just need the additional funds.”
He said the Chamber had suggested the county divert money from a fund for a sports complex that failed to materialize.
“What we suggested was that there was a fund or a softball or baseball complex that didn’t come to fruition,” Powers said. “So those funds have already been raised. And so we suggested those funds come from there.”
Powers said he believed the fund contained about $80,000, which he said had gone to the Geary County Conventions and Visitors Bureau.
“They had just given that to the CVB, I believe, so we’re just asking for a share of that,” he said. “And it would be — if that’s the case — it would be used for the same purposes as the CVB would use it for — trying to put heads in beds. That’s what the EDC’s trying to do, as well.”
Powers said he did not believe the request for extra funds would be granted.
“I just don’t have a good feeling about to be honest with you,” he said. “You know, everybody is requesting more money. But we can’t operate on a shoestring budget — we just can’t do it. We can’t do the things that we need to do to grow — and when I say grow, grow our community, not grow the EDC division or the MAC division, it’s to grow our community.”