The Economic Development Council lasted around a year.
Davenport Economic Development Council President Barbara Pierson sent an email to Davenport City Clerk Rachel Castillo on May 17 stating that the council had dissolved “because of difficulties.”
City staff and elected officials said there was no prior notice of the dissolution.The Davenport EDC is a voluntary council that was paid $10,000 in 2020 to help city staff communicate with existing business owners and drum up more commercial or industrial businesses to the city. The council members were contractually bound to produce an annual report on how the money was spent.
All of the Davenport City Commission members expressed some form of disappointment during a city commission meeting later on May 17.
“It kind of ticks me off to be honest without any discussion with the city,” Davenport Vice Mayor Brynn Summerlin said.
Commissioner Tom Fellows said the council members never produced a report on how the $10,000 in taxpayer funds was spent.
“I don't know of anything they have done in the year that they have been in business to bring anybody to Davenport,” Fellows said. It's probably best to pull the plug on it and move on.”
The Davenport EDC was formed on March 16, 2020 – just as the pandemic-related restrictions started to set in.
Mayor Rob Robinson instructed city staff to try and recover any unspent tax dollars remaining and list all of the council assets.
“I had great hope for this and I am disappointed,” Robinson said.
Commissioners expressed consent to try and find another group of leaders to create another economic development council.
Barbara Pierson previously served as a Davenport city commissioner.
In 2020, Pierson told the Sun that she hand-selected a council to assist her in the job of bringing commercial and industrial entities to the town. The vice director was Larry Umsteatder; the creative director was Brian Bradway; the secretary was Kirk Pierson; and Joyce Hunter was the treasurer.
“There is enormous growth in residences (in Davenport) — and I love all those rooftops — but I saw something was missing,” Pierson said in 2020. “There is disposable income in the seven figures being spent outside of our (city) borders.”
Anita Todd contributed to this story.