A resolution to fund the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development that had previously been voted down 4-3 by the Camden City Council was erroneously brought back up for consideration during March's Council meeting.
City Clerk Donna Stewart admitted fault for adding the resolution back to the agenda and City Attorney Michael Frey stated that one of the four "no" voters -- Council members Ebony Gulley, Marvin Moore, Joe Askew and William McCoy -- were the only council members that could bring the resolution back. None of the four submitted a new resolution, so the council moved on to other business.
Moore declined to comment when questioned by the Camden News on his February 'no' vote.
Askew stated during February's meeting, "I'm going to ask the same question I've been asking for about five years...We kind of ride the coattails of the industries across the river, but we have a lot of money going down the road, out of town, to eat, for entertainment and stuff like that. Every year I asked about restaurants and stuff like that and I get gassed up. I'm going to be asking the same questions."
At the same meeting, McCoy asked about OPED's involvement with the Small Business Development Center out of Magnolia and why there wasn't more of a presence at the offices at Ben Lane.
In a release to the media James Lee Silliman, Executive Director of OPED stated, "The OPED board met Wednesday following the city council meeting Tuesday night. We discussed our options as an organization which could include cutting our budget and services provided. In order to maintain a professional economic development office we require funding to keep the doors open and office staffed."
Silliman went on to state that as Ouachita County and the City of Camden's designated point of contact with the Arkansas Economic Division, "it is essential that we maintain operations to be competitive for potential business and industry prospects for our area."
"We are proud of the relationship we have with AEDC and the Governor's office. The Camden Timbers dedication last month is an example of our organization working with the company, AEDC and Governor's office to make this opportunity for new jobs happen for our community," Silliman said.