- COMMUNITY LINKS
Guidelines for the Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance [PREP] program, as well as funding allocations, have been released by the Department of Community and Economic Development.
"Funding for economic development programs for PREP came in the same as last year, $11.8 million," said Eric Bridges, executive director of the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission. "Guidance from DCED indicates that each individual PREP region will be getting the same amount that they did last year."
North Central and its PREP partners are reportedly in line for roughly $631,000.
"That's for all the partners functioning within the consortium, not just North Central," Bridges said. "The consensus of all the partners within our group was to pursue and to apply for the same allocations that were done last year. DCED did not mandate that, they established a ceiling in terms of what we were eligible to apply for."
Bridges said North Central acted as the contract entity for the previous fiscal year and the "consensus is that everyone within the six counties are comfortable with the relationships, and they wish to continue this."
Officials report the absence of significant changes within the consortium's proposal as committee partners are working on slight refinements.
"We had a few 100-page documents last year, but I don't expect anything close to that this year," Bridges said. "The deadline is at the end of the month and I don't see any reason for us to miss that. That coincides with the exception from DCED on our final report from the first year of PREP and our performance metrics review team will be meeting at Clarion University [today] to hammer out those initial metrics."
The executive director was pleased with the partnership's collective efforts and is looking forward to the future.
"Our final-year measures show that we did very well," Bridges said. "We'll be meeting with our partners to make sure there is no overlapping or duplication of services, and to be sure that everything is accurate before reporting that out to the state."
North Central will reportedly see $285,000 from PREP funding; Clarion University Small Business Development Center [SBDC] is marked for $137,104; Clearfield County Economic Development Corporation for $11,403; Jefferson County Development Council for $8,447; McKean County Industrial Development Authority for $8,447; Elk-St. Marys Economic Development Corporation for $7,593; Potter County Redevelopment Authority for $6,249; and Cameron County Industrial Development Corporation for $5,294.
William Bogart, a small business consultant for Cameron County and a member of the commission's board of directors, was less than thrilled with the proposed figures.