SPOKANE, WA-The Economic Development Council here will be adding business retention to its list of duties for 2001. The EDC has been a business recruitment tool, but until now has not focused on nurturing and supporting a company’s ongoing needs, such as the need for space to expand without having to leave the community.

To help make it happen, the council plans also to increase public involvement in funding the EDC, nearly 90% of which has historically come from the private sector. With an annual budget in the vicinity of $1 million, the Spokane EDC’s budget is smaller than that of the less populated Walla Walla County. Reports place the budget of Walla Walla, which has 13% of Spokane County’s population, at $.4.5 million for 2001. The Spokane EDC is anticipating a 2001 budget of $1.4 million.

The council has begun conducting meetings with other area organizations to clearly focus its revised role in the Spokane economy. Those talks are anticipated to continue on into next year. The EDC hopes to received the funding to add four new members to its current eight-member staff, including two new business-development positions in the first quarter of 2001.

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