Development group attracts renewed interest

The Sauk County Development Corporation’s Board of Directors is promising changes and local officials are listening.

Both the Prairie du Sac and Sauk City village boards appear poised to reconsider their November decisions to drop out of the SCDC.

Sauk City village president Jim Anderson said his opinion about the group had changed after a recent conversation with Sauk County community and public relations analyst Keri Olson, and he was impressed with a new commitment to revamp the organization.

“We canceled our membership because of the dynamics of that group, and we weren’t happy with it,” Anderson said. “But this is really a positive step forward for that organization. They want to be effective and make a difference. I’m sold. This sounds like a really good idea.”

Prairie du Sac village administrator Alan Wildman said the village’s membership dues already have been included in the village’s proposed 2016 budget.

He said the board would consider its budget in November.

Olson said membership dues of $1,250 will be applied to all Sauk County municipalities, rather than varying by population, as was the case in the past.

“We see it as a stay-with-us kind of gesture,” Olson said. “It acknowledges there is action taking place. It’s a good faith amount that says you’ll be part of us while we go through this transformation.”

She said the organization had formed a task force that will meet between now and February to determine the group’s next phase.

“What we want is a vibrant, robust economic development made up of the private and public sectors to deliver whatever is the greatest need for economic vitality,” Olson said.

Andrew Strathman, a Prairie du Sac village trustee and member of the countywide economic development group since April 2014 said that like Sauk City’s leaders, Prairie du Sac Village Board members didn’t see any value in being a part of the organization, especially in a time of budget cuts.

But he said he’s confident the new focus and energy of the group’s board will bring some real change, potentially in new board members and possibly a new name for the organization.

“We have to create a group that’s self-governing and are movers and shakers in their own right that have key skill sets that help build the organization,” Strathman said. “It’s about communication and that’s what we’re trying to fix. There needs to be constant contact and a way to communicate what our goals are and how we aim to measure those and achieve them and show them to supporting members.”

Development group attracts renewed interest