CLARKSBURG — The Harrison County Mayors’ Association will now have representation on the Harrison County Economic Development Corporation board of directors.
Members of the HCEDC board of directors voted during their meeting Wednesday to waive a portion of the first year’s dues for the Mayors’ Association, with the condition the association will be required to pay the full $10,000 in future years.
Shinnston will provide $5,000 and Salem will provide $2,500 of the first year’s fee, according to HCEDC Executive Director Amy Haberbosch Wilson.
The other municipalities in the Mayors’ Association will determine among themselves how to divide up the remaining $2,500 for future years, Wilson said.
“They are going to go back to the municipalities for the remaining amount so they would have representation on the board,” she said. “I know Bridgeport and Clarksburg both had offered to help out with those communities if they couldn’t come up with the funds. Speaking with each of them, they want to be part of this but, per their budget and the cycling, they didn’t have time to do this.”
The HCEDC budget for the current fiscal year was already made without the inclusion of the Mayors’ Association’s contribution, so waiving part of the first year’s fee won’t impact the organization’s bottom line, Wilson said.
“We didn’t budget that amount when we did our last budget,” she said. “That remaining $2,500 that we’re short, we won’t be missing because we hadn’t accounted for it anyway.”
In anticipation of the waiver, the Mayor’s Association has already appointed Shinnston Mayor Pat Kovalck to serve as its representative, Wilson said.
Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang said waiving a portion of the fee would allow the county’s smaller communities to benefit from the work of the HCEDC.
“I think we need them,” he said. “As far as having representation for each of the cities, I think that’s important.”
Board President Chad Riley said the HCEDC is intended to benefit all of the cities and towns in Harrison County, not just the larger municipalities.
“I think that with their engagement, they will start to see the value of what we’re doing and the value of membership,” he said. “I think it makes a lot of sense to waive the last $2,500 for this year and get them a seat at the table, with the understanding that the rest of the municipalities will put in their budget the little bit of money that it would take to get to $10,000.”
Also during Wednesday’s meeting, board members agreed to hold the HCEDC’s annual retreat Jan. 31 at Bridgeport City Hall, starting at noon.