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EDC Task Force Forms Recommendations As Deadline Approaches

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The EDC Task Force, charged last year with evaluating the performance and structure of the Tuolumne County Economic Development Company, is about to wrap things up.

The group was to take 120 days to study, debate and make recommendations. They´ve been working since November to determine the EDC´s structure, value to the community, and what they could do better. And at last night´s meeting, the debate continued.

One proposal brought up last night by Craig Will was the idea of creating a Tuolumne County Economic Development Commission, run by the county, and have the current EDC focus more on education.

At Monday´s City Council meeting, Mayor David Sheppard said the EDC was between a rock and a hard place.

“The barrier to development, and the success of EDC, let´s face it, is the county government. So many rules, conflicting regulations, nobody knows what the rules are, you have to go to five or six different places to get a permit, fees…” Sheppard said, blaming the EDC´s difficult position on government bureaucracy.

“It´s a no-win situation for EDC,” Sheppard added Monday.

Recommendations are being formulated by the task force and should be presented to the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors sometime later this month.

And as the EDC debate continues, public officials are expressing some pessimism about the task force.

City Councilman Hank Russell has been sitting in on the weekly meetings, and sent a memo this week to the Mayor and City Council.

The memo describes the Task Force´s lack of progress as “dysfunctional”, and also recounts the debate about hiring a facilitator to run the meetings, rejecting at least one such facilitator, and then voting to not have a facilitator after all. Russell says the Task Force is basically two opposing factions: one group trying to help the EDC and the other group trying to sink it.

And with two weeks to go before the Task Force was supposed to be finished, Russell says there´s no indication that´s going to happen.