New era

Municipal Development District about to become ‘full-time player’

Rockdale’s Municipal Development District (MDD) is about to enter a new era after more than a year of brainstorming and planning.

The city council has approved creation of the position of MDD executive director, along with a complete package that includes an assistant and funding for an office.

That’s a major milestone. It means the MDD is about to go “full time” in its quest to improve Rockdale’s economic situation.

Up until now, the MDD has been basically a group of volunteers, with a board of directors, trying to come up with initiatives which will help our community make some forward steps economically.

(Of course you can’t make much progress until you’ve dug in and stopped sliding backwards. It seems like we’re reaching a consensus that has occurred after the disaster which was 2008 and 2009 in our town.)

The executive director was originally envisioned as a manager/business recruiter and the city council was quite clear in its approval motion last week that it wants the primary focus of the new position/office to be in bringing jobs and businesses to Rockdale.

Everybody realizes that won’t be easy. Gary Griesbach, MDD president, pointed out that many neighboring towns, with whom Rockdale will complete for jobs and businesses, have had similar staffed efforts under way for years.

But you’ve got to start somewhere and this full-time effort is a major undertaking. The estimated total package expenditure of $150,000—the amount approved by the city council—represents more than half the annual anticipated revenue of the MDD.

That revenue, of course, is collected through a sales tax, approved by voters, which once went to Richards Memorial Hospital. It doesn’t come from property taxes collected by the city.—M.B.

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2012-02-23 digital edition

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