The Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council celebrated its 2010 accomplishments and outlined plans for the future at its annual meeting Wednesday, Jan. 20.
With a snowstorm plowing through the county outside, the council's members huddled in the Co-Mo Electric Cooperative meeting room and focused on the progress made in the past 12 months.
"A lot of things are starting to happen," said the group's executive director, Ken Parrett. "We have a good name. We have a good reputation. We have to focus on keeping that."
Hiring Parrett was one of the council's accomplishments in 2010, giving the county's economic development efforts a paid employee to focus on bringing jobs to Moniteau County and keeping existing jobs here.
"Economic development is a process," said Ken Johnson, Co-Mo's CEO and an MRED board member. "It takes time to lay the foundation, and it's even more challenging in the economic climate we've had in the past few years. Mr. Parrett has done a good job of bringing focus to the development efforts."
In addition, the group celebrated growing membership by 34 percent in 2010 while retaining 99 percent of its members.
"I encourage everyone to stay with us, because things are starting to happen. We have to stay diligent to show everyone we're ready to welcome them here," said MRED Board of Directors President Mike Kelley.
The additions of two restaurants in California, one in Tipton and the expansion of Tipton's Dollar General to a larger facility slated to open soon are also positive signs of the direction of MRED, its leaders said.
"If a company locates in California, that's good for Tipton. If a company locates in Tipton, that's good for California as well as all the other communities in Moniteau County, because we're all on the same team," Kelley said. "We're about what's good for Moniteau County."
Looking ahead to 2011, the group said the main focus remains the same.
"The goal continues to be bringing jobs to Moniteau County."
Kelley and Parrett also said they want to increase participation in the group from communities outside of California and Tipton and will work on this by making personal visits to the businesses throughout the county.
In addition, it is pursuing the establishment of an enhanced enterprise zone for the city of California. An EEZ would provide tax credits to new or expanding businesses in the designated area.
Finally, the group wants to increase its recruitment of businesses to the county.
"We've made a lot of progress," Parrett said. "Businesses know we're out there. We're headed in the right direction."