Decision is with PUC

The decision by the New Ulm City Council to end its subsidy to the New Ulm Economic Development Corporation (NUEDC) goes this week to the New Ulm Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC, like the city, has provided $50,000 in an annual subsidy to NUEDC to help pay for its operations. The Council has already voted to end its subsidy. On Tuesday at the PUC meeting, a similar question will be considered.

The PUC is a separate governing board that handles public utilities matters. Its members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council, but they are not accountable to the city council.

We expect that the PUC is going to follow the city’s lead on the NUEDC subsidy. But we hope the PUC commissioners will show more consideration than the city to the NUEDC members who wish to speak at their meeting.

We are also sure the NUEDC has taken the opportunity since the city council decision to speak to PUC members to make their arguments and concerns known. It may not change the outcome.

The main question now is how the city will use the money it used to send to the NUEDC. We know the plan is to use the money to hire an assistant city manager who will handle economic development issues as well as other city duties. But how is that going to work? What will the assistant city manager’s job description look like? How much time will be spent on economic development? Will the city expect to continue to work with the NUEDC, whose board has been working at this a long time and which still has resources available.

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