Residents advocate for WCEDA funding

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November 2, 2010
— Out of a budget that includes almost $150 million, Walworth County residents on Monday night advocated for a $50,000 line item and another topic that's not even in the budget.

Six people spoke Monday during a public hearing about the proposed 2011 county budget. Five spoke in favor of the county's plan to continue funding the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance. A sixth spoke about the revenue the county could earn if it regulated short-term residential rentals.

Administrator Dave Bretl has proposed maintaining funding for WCEDA at $50,000 in 2011. The board in August voted 6-5 to tentatively direct Bretl to do so.

The alliance uses public and private money to promote businesses and administer grants and loans for business development.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer was one of those who spoke in favor of continued county funding of WCEDA. The alliance was critical when the university landed a federal grant to help fund the Innovation Center, a business incubator that will be part of the university's new technical park.

Telfer is a member of the WCEDA board. He said he also takes a personal interest in the alliance's job of supporting local businesses because he wants to see UW-Whitewater graduates have the opportunity to work in Walworth County.

Unlike the alliance, the prospect of short-term rentals is not in the 2011 budget. But Geneva Township property owner and short-term rental advocate Cass Kordecki said budget time is a good time to talk about the subject.

A proposal to regulate rentals shorter than 30 days failed to advance past the Walworth County Zoning Agency in August.

Kordecki said the county is losing a possible $100,000 in taxable revenue every year by not regulating such rentals.

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