JEDO Board Meets to Discuss Two Economic Development Plans

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Joint Economic Development Organization, or JEDO, voted Thursday in favor of incentives for Del Monte Foods and the partnership between Go Topeka and JEDO.

Up first on the agenda was an item dubbed "Project Miller," a $140,000 incentive project to retain and create jobs at Del Monte.

Del Monte is to invest $12.6 million to expand its facility on Brickyard Road. They must then retain 23 positions and add 10 full-time jobs by December 31, 2014 for the incentive to go forward.

"The company will participate with Go Topeka in an annual review to ensure that they are in compliance with the contract," Vice President of Economic Development Dawn Wright said.

The board approved the incentive.

The next item considered was a 2013 budget, economic development business plan and contract between Go Topeka and JEDO.

Go Topeka previously announced private contributions of $4 million for the economic development plan.

Maynard Oliverius, Chairman of the Board of Go Topeka, said the funding will allow them to extend more public dollars for the purpose of land acquisition, infrastructure improvements and general support of economic development.

Some tensions arose when Mayor Bunten motioned for a three-year contract between Go Topeka and JEDO.

Most vocal was Joe Ledbetter, who said Go Topeka wasn't doing all it claims to do. His comments drew a sharp response from the mayor.

Mayor Bunten said he's been listening to Ledbetter for eight years now.

Ledbetter retorted, asking the mayor if he was engaging in a personal attack.

In the end, JEDO approved a one-year contract with Go Topeka.

The deal allows Go Topeka to manage the funds raised by a special economic development sales tax. Both groups decide how to spend it.