October 6, 2011 |

Assembly considers economic non-profit

The Haines Borough’s government affairs and services committee has proposed forming a task force that would look into creating a nonprofit organization to promote economic development in Haines.

"Our recommendation is to have a task force of three to five people try to identify a model of an economic development nonprofit organization that would work for Haines," said Haines Borough Assembly member Steve Vick, who chairs the committee.

Assemblyman Daymond Hoffman also serves on the committee, which had three recent meetings centered on economic development.

Vick shared the recommendation with the assembly on Sept. 27 and said the next step might be a borough resolution to launch the task force.

"I think we should have a couple people from the business community on there, somebody representing the fishing industry and somebody representing the nonprofit industry, so that we have the expertise of how a nonprofit is run and what it takes to get it going," he said.

The committee also recommended having a representative from the Chilkoot Indian Association on the task force, Vick said.

He said the consensus at committee meetings was attendees were "not in favor of a government committee taking (economic development) on."

The task force would examine organizations throughout the state, such as the Juneau Economic Development Council, Vick said, and suggest a model for Haines.

"Once we have that information, we can go from there," he said. "Maybe one needs to be formed (in Haines) or maybe one doesn’t work. The reasons why would be really important."

Ned Rozbicki, president of the Haines Chamber of Commerce, said he appreciated the emphasis on economic development, but he has advocated that the chamber not be "left out of the loop."

"If you look at this community, we’re replete with boards and organizations, and what we lack most, it seems, is enough people to fill those boards and staff those organizations properly," Rozbicki said. "Creating yet another entity that would require recruiting a number of people to serve on would seem to duplicate our efforts, to some extent."

He said chamber members, combined, have "centuries of locally-specific business knowledge" to help a potential economic development staffer.

"If there is a group in Haines that would be suited to help oversee a position in economic development, I think the chamber would be it," Rozbicki said.