Council hears from EDCO agency


Last updated 5/30/2023 at 11:11am

Eric Strobel of Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) Sisters, and John Stark, executive director for EDCO made a budget request and gave the Sisters City Council a chance to hear more about EDCO’s activities last week.

EDCO is a regional organization that strives to get businesses moving and growing and provide the economy with jobs. Sisters is a participating in an EDCO program with Eric Strobel at the helm.

Their mission is to “create a diversified local economy and a strong base of middle-class jobs in Central Oregon. To do this, we focus on helping companies do the following:

MOVE. We guide employers outside the region through the relocation process as a resource for regional data, incentives, talent, site selection, and more.

START. We mentor and advise scalable young companies from concept to exit on issues such as access to capital, critical expertise, and strategy.

GROW. We partner with local traded-sector companies to help them grow and expand.”

Strobel has been in his position in Sisters full-time since October and has been out in the community connecting with businesses.

Many businesses in Sisters have connected through EDCO roundtables.

Strobel highlighted pending projects within their Move, Start, and Grow template. There are eight Grow projects, three Move, and two Start projects currently in the works, representing 75 potential jobs, and $9,550,000 in projected investment.

EDCO is working on local projects regarding childcare, affordable housing and workforce housing, transportation planning, infrastructure, community branding, and marketing tourism, among others.

Stark presented some of the regional projects and businesses they’ve been partnering with, and highlighted their internship for students, encouraging the youth to get involved.

Stark and Strobel presented a funding request based on their 2023-24 budget. They asked for a 6.4 percent increase in all local offices for additional funding to be used for marketing and communications and recruitment for the community.

They are expecting a 5.56 percent increase in labor cost across all their divisions and a 6 percent increase in material costs based on inflationary measures. They are looking to fully fund Strobel’s position as the Sisters director and bring some retirement options on the table.

A lot of their budget increase request is due to inflation and competitive wages.

“We know over the years EDCO hasn’t always paid acompetitive wage and we’ve suffered for that, and we want to change that, and we know passing that along to communities is a big ask, but we also know that person with a salary to have is a great addition to the community,” said Stark.

The request is for a total of $79,824 with a quarterly payment of $19,956 for the Sisters funding request.

This funding will allow EDCO to continue to grow their team as well as keep Strobel as director of the Sisters chapter, continuing their work with Sisters businesses.

“I think it’s money well spent,” said Councilor Jennifer Letz.

City staff is working on a contract with EDCO, with Strobel as director, to be approved by Council.


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