The Rome City Commission is expected to be the first tonight to sign off on a three-party agreement that sets up a unified industrial recruitment, economic development and marketing model.
The Rome-Floyd County Development Authority will take over the responsibility from the Rome Chamber and pay a third of the annual budget. The City Commission and Floyd County Commission also will fund equal shares under the agreement.
City Manager Sammy Rich has drawn up an initial budget of $450,000 a year, with just over half devoted to payroll.
The first order of business would be to hire a full-time economic development executive director to lead the redirected authority. Rich and County Manager Jamie McCord along with the chair of the authority — an at-large citizen appointee — will recruit and recommend a director to the full board.
The Chamber and its Greater Rome Existing Industries Council will retain seats on the board. Under the proposed agreement, the authority will work with those two entities on a formalized description of their future roles.
While the City Commission unanimously backed the concept in January, Commissioners Evie McNiece and Wendy Davis expressed reservations about the lack of clear strategies and goals. The 10-page agreement they’ll take up tonight focuses on the structure of the partnership.
The agreement is slated to run through 2030, with a review and potential revision of the terms set for the spring of 2022. It’s expected that the authority would become self-sustaining after three years, using PILOT, Payment in Lieu of Taxes, fees from an incentive program for businesses locating or expanding in the county.
City Commissioners caucus at 5 p.m. tonight and start their regular session at 6:30 p.m. Both sessions are in City Hall, 601 Broad St., and are public.
During the caucus, Joel Snider is scheduled to present plans for a downtown beautification program funded by the Community Foundation for Greater Rome.
The foundation wants to install flower boxes and planters at the major intersections, beginning at Second Avenue and Broad Street. The project is based on one in the small town of Columbus, Indiana, which uses art and architecture as tourist draws.