Saturday, April 19, 2014

Development Corp: Economic Impact Analysis

San Angelo's Development Corporation will meet once a month starting this Tuesday.  The agenda for the April 23rd shows:

3.  Consideration of approving necessary Corporation disbursements and authorizing the designated Board members to sign related Corporation checks.  (Presentation by Roland Peña, Economic Development Director)
Under disbursements is a recommendation the Board pay for an economic impact analysis model from Impact DataSource, which has Jerry Walker as principal.  This is different from the regional economic index proposed months ago by Ingham Economic Reporting.

The Impact DataSource model makes ten year estimates on the economic impact of employers growing jobs, whether those are existing companies or new ones.  One would expect economic development professionals to be able to make projections, i.e. create their own model.  City staff have done this numerous times, with MedHab the most prominent estimation the last few years. 

As for Impact DataSource's spreadsheet software, it's a make or buy decision.  Will the COSADC board look at this as an unbudgeted $5,000 item that needs proper explanation and board approval?  Will they want to know what purchasing steps staff undertook to remain in compliance with city policies, unlike City Council's Furniture Fiasco?

Projections are projections.  One key is understanding how a measure is calculated.  Another is comparing reality to best guesses.  What different happened?  Why?  In those situations learning can occur.  One aim of the COSADC board should be to educate and inform citizens on economic development.  Any companies missing their milestones should keep the COSADC board as well as the public up to date. 

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