You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Champaign County seeks new partnership for economic development

The city of Urbana and Champaign County are asking the private sector to help raise money for economic development efforts in the county.

As part of that, Champaign County plans to quadruple what it currently spends on economic development, County Commissioner Steve Hess said.

Currently Marcia Bailey works 28 hours a week as the economic development director for the county and city.

“It is a full-time business being run part-time,” Urbana Mayor Bill Bean said.

Local leaders now hope to create a partnership between the county, city and private sector called the Champaign Economic Partnership, or CEP.

“Economic development to me is one of the most single important issues, not only in Urbana, but Champaign County,” Bean said.

Bean and Hess presented the partnership proposal on Tuesday to representatives from the banking, education, real estate, manufacturing and health care fields, and leaders from Champaign County townships and villages.

Champaign County cut its budget for economic development in 2011. Hess voted against the cuts in 2011, but said he believes the county will re-dedicate $1 from every conveyance fee now used for the general fund budget back into an economic development fund.

The county was spending $25,000 a year on economic development and believes the new conveyance fees will raise an additional $75,000 a year.

Champaign County said it will give $50,000 to the CEP and save the other $50,000 for special projects.

The city has pledged to give $50,000 as well to the partnership and hopes the private sector will match the government agencies, Bean said.

The CEP is expected to be fully functioning by Jan 1. 2015, Bailey said.

One of the businesses that was a catalyst for the partnership was Pioneer Electric, Bailey said.

Pioneer hosted the presentation and was the business to donate to the CEP, giving $15,000.

“We believe strongly in economic development,” Pioneer Electric CFO Aaron Stallings said.

Pioneer benefits when any new business comes into the county, he said, because it will use the company’s power or their employees will use the electricity.

The money raised by the partnership will go toward hiring staff, boosting Urbana’s web presence and recruiting businesses and employees, Bailey said.

Rick Finkbine, executive vice president of Sarica Manufacturing, said his company spends a lot of time recruiting and educating employees about manufacturing jobs.

He said he hopes the partnership will help with those efforts.

“Manufacturing is a different industry than many people perceive it to be,” Finkbine said. “We spend a lot of time recruiting, talking to people about the new kind of manufacturing, which is much more modern and clean than they may believe.”

Sarica would be interested in being part of the partnership, he said, because more companies in Urbana can benefit everyone.

“We would like to shorten the supply chain. The longer the supply chain the more costly it is. The more inflexible it is. Additional business around us would benefit us on a supply chain,” Finkbine said. “Obviously it would open up opportunities for additional customers also.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

STORE CLOSINGS: Sears to close 50 auto centers
STORE CLOSINGS: Sears to close 50 auto centers

Sears Holdings is set to close 50 Auto Center locations, the company announced. Sears updated investors last week on its strategic restructuring program, stating the company aimed to save $1.25 billion through some store closures in 2017. The company already announced it would close 108 Kmart stores and 42 Sears locations. » RETAIL APOCALYPSE...
Two area health systems named Top 15 in nation
Two area health systems named Top 15 in nation

Kettering Health Network and Mercy Health have been named two of the Top 15 health systems in the nation by the international business research firm Truven Health Analytics. It’s the fifth appearance on the Top 15 list for the Dayton-based Kettering system, comprised of eight hospitals, including Kettering Medical Center, Fort Hamilton, Soin...
675 Ohioans complained about mortgage servicer sued by feds
675 Ohioans complained about mortgage servicer sued by feds

State and federal authorities have sued mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp., saying the company botched the handling of millions of mortgage accounts, including 675 Ohio complaints. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday that the accounts Ocwen serviced were riddled with errors throughout the repayment process. It said the company...
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans
Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations continue over health plans

Contract negotiations between the region’s largest health system and insurer UnitedHealthcare remain at an impasse as a deadline approaches that could jeopardize the health plans of up to 70,000 local residents. Premier Health and UnitedHealthcare, the area’s largest insurer, have been at an impasse in talks to renew their health coverage...
Dayton-area event will feature 500 small businesses
Dayton-area event will feature 500 small businesses

Ohio’s largest small-business-to-government-contracting event is set to happen Wednesday, the Ohio Development Services Agency said. The 2017 Ohio Business Matchmaker will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at Wright State University’s Ervin J. Nutter Center, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Fairborn. RELATED: Defense contractor opens new office...
More Stories