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EDC announces it will curb spending for remainder of year

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will watch its pennies for the rest of the year, a move that could save up to 3 percent of the agency's budgeted spending.

The measure, prompted by cutbacks undertaken by both the city and the county, was urged last month by the EDC's joint operations board.

At a meeting Thursday, the board stopped short of voting to make the cutbacks official.

But the EDC staff was asked to try to reduce spending over the next four months.

Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission, called it "doable and realistic" to trim expenses by up to $15,000.

Budgets for EDC committees that work on projects ranging from renewable energy to marketing and business retention will likely be left untouched. Instead, spending reductions will come from categories such as supplies, travel and utilities.

"This is their second year of no dollar increase," Renquist said of the committees. No increase is budgeted for committee activities next year either. And the EDC has adopted a 2010 budget that contains a slight spending decrease.

Operations board members said Thursday that in difficult economic times, public agencies need to be conservative. But the EDC also needs to be poised to keep moving forward and to continue fostering economic development, board members said.

Cut the budget too much and it might be harder for the agency to carry out its mission, said Duane Hultgren, chairman of the joint operations board.

"Good times invariably follow bad times, so positioning yourself to capitalize on what's coming is critical," said Ron Erpelding.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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