County Supervisors disagreed last week in a public meeting over the value of an organization known as the La Paz Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
The organization, which is properly called a ‘public-private partnership’, operates independently but in partnership with La Paz County, the Town of Parker, La Paz Regional Hospital and other investors to pursue economic opportunities in the area.
District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson, who is on the board of the EDC, defended the organization against statements made by District 3 Supervisor Holly Irwin.
Irwin said the EDC had not kept her informed about projects in her district, and that she has issues with the name because people think the EDC is part of the county government.
“People think they are the County. They’re not,” she said.
Irwin said the EDC website contains the address for the Board of Supervisors, which makes it confusing. Parker Live could not find the Supervisors’ address on the EDC website. La Paz County is listed as one of EDC’s key partners.
Wilson replied that the EDC has been involved in several development projects that have increased the sales tax revenue of the County, including Rose Acre Farms, a large commercial egg farm near Bouse, AZ. He also said that the organization had been recognized for its efforts nationally.
Irwin represents a part of La Paz County where a controversial aluminum smelting plant is in the development stage, opposed by some residents who say it will bring pollution. According to an article in The Arizona Republic, EDC was involved in talks with the company to develop the plant.
District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor weighed in, saying that the EDC had been mostly beneficial to the whole county.
At the end of the exchange, Minor and Wilson voted together to approve renewing the County’s annual funding of the EDC at $30,000 for the year, with Irwin voting against. It’s the same amount as last year. The Supervisors also approved funding for chambers of commerce, tourism boards and fair boards, senior centers, CRIT Head Start and the Arizona Peace Trail.
Read some arguments for and against the smelting plant HERE.