After more than 10 years of outsourcing its economic development, City of McAlester staff is asking the McAlester City Council to turn that responsibility over to city staff.
The third item on Tuesday’s agenda will request councilors to vote on “confirming the City of McAlester has the resources or can obtain the resources necessary to provide Economic Development service to the citizens of McAlester.”
City Manager Pete Stasiak says the city has used MPOWER Economic Development Corporation for more than 10 years. MPOWER changed its name about three years ago. Prior to that, it was called McAlester Economic Development Services.
In negotiations with MPOWER, Stasiak said the new contract showed an increase from $234,000 a year to $400,000 over last year's budget.
“We are under a budget crunch at the city right, now. The dollar amount is the reason for this move,” Stasiak said.
MCALESTER -- MPOWER announced in a press release June 7 “they have been unable to reach a mutually beneficial contract agreement with the City of McAlester and will therefore be closing its operation effective immediately.”
The press release goes on to say, “We also feel it necessary to express our regret with the City of McAlester's inability to provide much needed infrastructure and incentives. Most importantly, we cite the lack of the city management's cooperation and honest integrity needed to attract new industry into McAlester.
“After exhausting every possibility, the board feels that it is in the best interest of the tax payers and MPOWER employees that we cease our operation.”
Stasiak said the decision was based on finances.
“It is because of the request of an increase in funding that we could not move forward.”
MPPOWER was not available for comment. Their current contract with the city expires June 30.
Should item No. 3 be voted down, the council will then vote on the contract between the city and MPOWER. If item No. 3 is approved, Stasiak said it would then become a “non-item.”
The city council meets this evening at 7 p.m. at McAlester City Hall, 28 E. Washington.
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