Trustees mull disbanding village's EDC
Last updated 9/4/2019 at 5:45pm | View PDF
With only two members currently serving on the village’s economic development commission, Hinsdale trustees wonder whether the group has outlived its purpose.
“There have been challenges with both recruiting members to the commission and getting a quorum and meeting regularly,” Trustee Jerry Hughes, chairman of administration and community affairs, told his fellow village board members Tuesday.
The EDC is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month. Five to nine meetings were canceled each year between 2015 and 2018 due to lack of a quorum, and eight meetings already have been canceled this year.
Staff has recommended changing the advisory group’s meetings from once a month in the evening to once a quarter in the morning with the hope of attracting more members.
The proposed changes also simplify qualifications for membership. The code currently calls for the seven voting members to be comprised of two retail merchants, one representative of an institutional organization (hospital or bank), one Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce representative and three residents at large. The new format would call for three residents at large and at least three individuals involved in the Hinsdale business community.
In addition to discussing the proposed changes, Hughes suggested trustees might want to consider a larger question.
“Do we need an EDC?” he asked. “This commission hasn’t been around forever. We put it in place in 2003. If we’re having such a hard time getting people to participate, to me that usually speaks to difficulty in people seeing the value or purpose.”
“It may be that we have a closer relationship with the chamber, try to get them more involved,” Cauley said. “If we made the chamber more interactive with village government, we don’t need an EDC.”
If the proposed changes stimulate greater involvement, however, the commission should continue, he added interested in hearing what chamber officials and the two EDC members thought about disbanding the group.
According to village website, the EDC was created to help expand the tax base, maintain the charm and unique character of the village, encourage a healthy business mix to provide a variety of products, enhance the quality of life and conduct longterm strategic planning. The commission advises the village board on the annual disbursement of $90,000 in marketing funds and $60,000 in capital expenses.
Trustees emphasized that they value the time economic development commissioners have donated over the last 16 years.
“I agree the EDC has done some valuable work in the past,” Cauley said. “We’ll go forward or we’ll think of an alternative.”
Trustees will revisit the topic when they meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at village hall, 19 E. Chicago Ave.