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Even as the city prepares to take up Red River Region Business Incubator’s funding, the Paris Economic Development Corp. is continuing to work with the incubator to help R3bi move forward.
PEDC funded R3bi directly the last few years, a move that created a great deal of controversy this year. The City Council directed PEDC to remove the $89,000 from its budget this year, although the city has agreed to pick up the funding next year.
PEDC board members Bruce Carr and Vicki Ballard were appointed to work with R3bi board President Sydney Young and Dr. Pam Anglin, Paris Junior College president, to find the best path forward as PEDC distances itself from the incubator. The working group is exploring ways to shift that to the companies themselves.
“That takes the issue of funding the incubator directly off the table,” PEDC Director Steve Gilbert said. “The PEDC does what it’s here to do, and that is provide incentives to companies who are creating primary jobs and who are within the Type A requirements.”
Young created a sort of matrix based on requirements the state law sets for Type A corporations like PEDC and presented it to the corporation’s board of directors. That could be used to create a checklist to determine which R3bi clients might qualify for incentives from the economic development corporation.
“There may be existing incubator companies and there will be future incubator companies that would qualify for PEDC support under state law,” Gilbert said. “It’s conceivable the PEDC could provide an incentive to the company on a year-to-year basis that would offset the cost of their rent and also the cost of services the incubator provides.”
Nothing has been set at this point, he said.
“They have more work to do before this is all completed,” said Gilbert. “I think there is an opportunity to find a way where companies that are in the incubator can find the support of the PEDC.”
By Jeff Parish, eParisExtra