(Brookville, Ind.) - The City of Lawrenceburg could be cutting off $500,000 in annual economic development funding to Franklin County.
Lawrenceburg leaders have concerns that the grant money is not going towards its intended purpose: economic development and job creation.
The city, thanks to the millions of dollars it receives from a revenue sharing agreement with the local casino, awards various economic development grant amounts to neighboring counties each year.
Former Franklin County Economic Development Commission president Michael Hiles – who resigned in September after Franklin County Council cut the FCEDC’s budget by $90,000 to just $13,400, or 87 percent – had told council of his talks earlier this year with Lawrenceburg Mayor Dennis Carr and Redevelopment Director Grant Hughes, the Franklin County Observer newsletter reports.
At an October 11 meeting, Hiles showed to the FCEDC members a series of e-mails exchanged with Hughes. Hughes said the city has concerns that only a small portion of the $500,000 granted to the Franklin County each year is going toward economic development.
Hiles shared the e-mails to protect the integrity of the FCEDC and himself after Franklin County Councilman Aaron Leffingwell said the possibility of Lawrenceburg stopping its grant to the county was unfounded.
According to the Observer, one of the e-mails from Hughes to Hiles read "I don't believe that you misstated the possible status of the $500K being in jeopardy...the Mayor was very concerned with the use of the funds and the limited amount that was going to the economic development."
Hughes had suggested to Hiles that Franklin County create a redevelopment commission to oversee the grant money is used properly, instead of the funds being placed directly into the county’s coffers.
The Observer has reported that the county has multiple grants pending due to the lack of a redevelopment commission.
Hiles has previously suggested that Franklin County government is not serious about developing jobs. He’s also raised concerns that $750,000 in Economic Development Income Tax funds are not being spent properly.