(La Porte County, IN) - All new faces and a different approach have been placed behind the wheel to steer LaPorte County quicker into a more prosperous future.
AME Consulting out of LaPorte is in charge of what’s now called The Center for Economic Development, Planning and Government Affairs.
Members from the company have moved into what used to be the La Porte County Office of Economic and Community Development. Paul Vincent, principal owner and director of engineering for the firm, is in charge of the office at the La Porte County Annex building at 555 Michigan Ave.
The La Porte County Commissioners under new leadership parted ways with the firm once responsible for creating new jobs and former executive director of the office, Tony Rodriguez.
County Commission President Joe Haney said AME Consulting has the resources to perform the multiple tasks involved in attracting new companies and helping existing firms succeed and grow. AME Consulting will also operate under a new structure bringing county departments with various roles to play in economic development seamlessly into the process.
For example, Haney said everyone previously involved in areas like recruitment, infrastructure development and planning worked separately, which caused delays in getting projects started and completed. The hope now is to save a considerable amount of time by having all key players together under one umbrella.
“LaPorte County has languished for too long. Now, for the first time in a long time, we’re finally opening the county up and making a much more conducive environment for business, growth and expansion,” he said.
One of the directives given to the new economic development team is to pursue more grants to help offset the cost to taxpayers and the private sector on new investment and maintaining roads.
Haney said he also wants to increase the amount of grants secured for providing more access to high speed internet.
He feels LaPorte County can do better than it did last year in placing 62nd out of 92 counties in state funds secured for broadband extension. Haney said another hope is to work on economic development more with all of the municipalities.
The contract with AME Consulting is for six months, which can be renewed based on performance.
In comparison, Rodriguez and his personnel worked under a one-year deal in each of the four years they were in the office.
Haney also noted AME Consulting will be paid about $50,000 less than the previous firm if their contract is extended for the rest of the year.
“It’s time for LaPorte County government to start thinking more like a private company where we need to see results. We need to see things more focused and not tolerate some of the stagnation and just poor performance,” he said.