Funding secured for Warren Worx? Maybe

Is all of the funding secured for Warren Worx?


Warren City Council approved a memorandum of understanding on Monday committing to $100,000 in funding this year — and potentially for two years beyond this year.

During that discussion, it was represented that the Warren County Commissioners have agreed to fund the effort.

If they had, that action has yet to be raised in a public meeting.

The Times Observer obtained a copy of a letter dated March 15 and signed by all three county commissioners.

“As part of an investment in Warren County’s future, and efforts to reduce population decline and promote economic development by utilizing the Warren Worx business plan, the Commissioners are willing to invest $100,000 over a 12-month period based on the meeting of a few key elements,” the letter states.

“Two key elements are the hiring of a marketing director, and … a branding initiative. Once those elements have been met, the county will fund $8,333.33 monthly as billed by the Warren Worx entity.”

Future years will be considered as the commissioners see development of “KPIs,” or key performance indicators.

Commissioner Dan Glotz told the Times Observer that the letter is a “non-binding letter of commitment for the program.

“The Commissioners will be addressing it at a future County Commissioner meeting but that date has not been set yet,” he added.

The MOU approved by city council contains many of the same conditions — that the “investment” is “contingent on Warren Worx hiring a marketing director and launching its branding initiative.

“Warren Worx acknowledges that funding for years two and three of the initiative is contingent on the city’s budget process and approval as well as on Warren Worx implementation of its plan to the satisfaction of city council,” the MOU states.

The Warren County Chamber of Business & Industry, which is coordinating the Warren Worx initiative, is moving ahead as if the funding is locked in.

“The next step for us is bringing the executive committee together, hopefully sometime next week.” WCCBI President/CEO Jim Decker said.

Their task is two-fold: Developing the job description for the marketing director as well as firming up proposals received for the branding initiative.

“I think our marching orders, we feel, have been established,” Decker said, outlining a two-month process for the hire and a four-month timeline for the branding initiative.

He said that Warren Worx “has to be an initiative that is created from the ground up.”

A broader stakeholder group has been in place from the beginning but the dialogue with government leaders resulted in an added layer to the organization — an executive committee.

The stakeholder meetings, he added, will be public and he said that “ideally” the first one would be held next month.

“We’ve been talking about this thing. It’s up to us,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of eyes on us to lead the charge and lead it effectively.”

The general idea behind Warren Worx is the need to develop a central facilitating entity for initiatives and projects in the county. Warren Worx’s first major assignment would be the development of a county brand that can be used by existing organizations to enhance outreach efforts.

Statistics driving the effort are the county’s decades-long population decline, especially among the workforce-aged cohort.


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