Beginning next year, Waukesha County will implement a Request
For Information process following the Waukesha County Economic
Development Corporation’s announcement that it will no longer
manage the county’s Community Development Block Grant program.
During his budget
presentation to the County Board last month, County Executive
Dan Vrakas said he was informed a few months ago that at year’s
end, the WCEDC would no longer manage the CDBG program due to
the time commitment required.
program, which began in 1974, provides communities with
resources to address a range of unique community development
needs, according to its website.
according to the county’s budget book, $95,000 will be set aside
next year for economic development. However, rather than
allocate those funds to the WCEDC as has been done in years
past, the county will begin a “new initiative ... to
competitively seek proposals from potential contract agencies to
leverage county funds to further county economic development
Waukesha County has researched the economic development
activities of its peer counties across the state and the nation
before deciding that soliciting information through an RFI
process is the best way to “ensure the county taxpayers will get
the biggest return on their investment.”
“For a long
time our county has been able to grow by simply welcoming
businesses and assisting them with their expansion plans in
Waukesha County,” he said during his budget address. “Times have
changed. We need to actively pursue economic development
opportunities and let the job creators from around the region,
state and the nation know that we want them here in Waukesha
WCEDC CEO Bill
Mitchell said he was pleased to have had the opportunity to
manage the block grant program, but its requirements became too
taxing for his small staff after more than a decade.
capacity for us,” he said. “We are a two-person nonprofit and we
were a contractor to manage (the program) for many, many years.
It is a lot of work. It is a wonderful program, I think we have
deployed all of the funds that the county made available this
year for the first time in our history, which is great news.”