A Montezuma County commissioner and a board member of a local economic development group clashed Monday over what the group, known as MCEDA, has done for the area.
James Lambert, who had represented the county on the Montezuma Community Economic Development Association’s board, recommended that the county stop participating since it has cut funding to MCEDA for 2018. Then Lambert commented, “They do nothing for the county.” Moments later, MCEDA board member Greg Kemp called Lambert’s statement “absolutely, completely, totally false.” He cited examples when the commissioners had asked MCEDA to undertake projects, such as promoting the county as a location for solar farms and promoting a vote to opt out of a state law regulating broadband. Kemp said in those cases MCEDA did what the county asked but the county had failed to follow up on the projects. Lambert then said he didn’t believe MCEDA does nothing, but was disappointed that it doesn’t seek to attract new businesses. Kemp said MCEDA focuses on retaining and expanding existing businesses because recruiting new ones “doesn’t work.” Lambert also said MCEDA shouldn’t be working so much with municipalities because they have their own chambers of commerce. Kemp said he would ask the group’s executive director, JoDee Powers, and board president, Leila Hanson, to come talk with the commissioners.