Horicon Economic Development Department Under Scrutiny

8/4/17 – The Horicon Personnel and Finance Committee discussed future goals for the director of economic development at their meeting Thursday night. Jim Schaefer, who was hired for the newly created position in 2015, was scrutinized during budget process last fall when Alderman Donald Miller questioned the benefit he provided to the city. The committee and Schaefer last night discussed as areas of focus several business retention goals including: better categorizing of departmental work and addressing community needs – highlighted in a city-wide survey that went out in April. Schaefer says public communication is key moving forward. He says he is meeting with businesses and developers to show them the opportunities that are in Horicon. Early expectations for the job had Schaefer working with existing businesses to obtain funding through grants. At the time, Mayor Steve Neitzel told us they wanted to do something different by acting proactively instead of reactively in attracting and keeping businesses. Neitzel says while there might not be much tangible progress made so far, he understands that the department which started from scratch needs time to grow. He says though the next couple months will be a good indicator of how much was accomplished in the two years since the job was created. The committee will reconvene at the end of the month to review the finalized goals and objectives that were discussed last night. At the end of the year, a review will be conducted to determine if the position will be budgeted for in 2018 or if Schaefer is the right individual for the job.