The Collier County Economic Development Council is closing its doors, and at least one County Commissioner wants to make sure the taxpayers get some of their money back.
Henning said Thursday that the request is not because he thinks that something is amiss with the financial statements, but rather that the county has an obligation to recover its investment.
“One of our duties is to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
The council has been receiving $400,000 of taxpayer money a year to support its operations.
Henning said the reason the item will be placed on Tuesday’s agenda and not on the workshop agenda for the meeting the commissioners are holding with the EDC Friday is that the commissioners are limited to giving guidance only during workshops.
“Besides, the workshop is about moving forward and I think we should focus on that,” he said.
At the workshop, Jim McGraw, CEO of KMK Consulting Co., which developed a new strategic plan for growing jobs locally and regionally, will outline his recommendations for change.
The strategic plan, released earlier this month, recommended replacing the EDC with an entirely new, reinvigorated organization, supported entirely by private businesses. The new group would focus on keeping and growing jobs.
Tim Cartwright, the EDC’s chairman-elect, said the EDC has no problem turning over its records. In fact, the organization has already turned over the records to Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock’s office.
“We did receive a request from the clerk and submitted audits to the clerk’s office,” he said.
Cartwright said the request from the county will not put a damper on Friday’s workshop.
“We are comfortable sharing them with the county government. It’s not a problem,” he said.
Brock said he didn’t know the county would be requesting the documents as well. He said the clerk’s office has received the EDC’s audits for 2009 and 2010.
“We are looking at it because they are closing it out,” he said. “We wanted to see if there was anything that sends up a red flag.”
Brock said he asked for the documents shortly after the EDC approached him about the possibility of closing down. He said his office has not had time to review the audits yet.
The EDC was established in 1976 as a private group, supported only by private companies. In 1997, the council evolved into a public-private partnership.
The new strategic plan was commissioned by the EDC, at a cost of $80,000. It was paid for with private money from its members.
Critics complained the council was ineffective and costly to the taxpayers.
Collier County commissioners meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in commission chambers, 3299 U.S. 41 E.
Connect with Collier County government and transportation reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.