GWEDC facing funding hurdles

Wichita, KS –  Bringing new companies and jobs to Sedgwick County is part of the mission of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, but a cut in funding from Sedgwick County could hurt its ability to market Wichita to the world.

Foley Industries is growing and on Tuesday we learned its Wichita headquarters
will expand with a new 100,000 square foot facility.

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition was instrumental in the expansion, but now the organization is facing budget cuts from the county.

Jeff Fluhr with the GWEDC says, “We’re funded with the County through 2015. They’re working through their budgeting process now for 2016. We’ll continue to work with them and based upon that decision then we’ll make determinations on what we do with that funding.”

A new more fiscally conservative Sedgwick County Commission wonders if that tax money could be better used elsewhere to grow business.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn shared his thoughts with KSN. “I think local Government is going to move away from trying to pick winner and losers, and are trying to get in creating more competitive, lower tax, more fair regulatory environment as opposed to trying to pick out specific companies,” said Peterjohn.

Just last week, Hamilton Relay out of Nebraska announced it was moving a new call relay center to Wichita, and planned to hire over a hundred people.

When asked if a loss of funds could hurt the GWEDC’s ability to attract new companies just like it, Fluhr said money from the county really helps with marketing and GWEDC’s story out on a global level.

Commissioner Peterjohn says he’s not opposed to growing business as long as everyone gets a fair shot.

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