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Mattie Nissley (left) and Pamela Carrico (right) shop in downtown Elkhart on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. Downtown Elkhart Inc.’s board is considering a proposal to hire a full-time executive director. The vote could happen on Friday, Dec. 20. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) (AP)
$85,000 for DEI post includes compensation package
Posted on Dec. 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 18, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

ELKHART — The $85,000 figure bandied about at Monday’s Elkhart City Council meeting for a new position at Downtown Elkhart Inc. includes a compensation package for insurance coverage, according to Mike Huber, president of the organization.

Huber addressed that issue and other aspects of the proposed position, which DEI hopes to fill as soon as possible.

Huber met with members of DEI’s board of directors Wednesday morning, Dec. 18. No action was taken on a recommendation to hire Dan Boecher as executive director because of a lack of a quorum.

The board is tentatively expected to meet Friday morning to consider a vote on the recommendation from DEI’s executive committee to hire Boecher.

Concerns about funding the position with TIF dollars were brought up by City Councilman Brian Dickerson Monday during a city council meeting.

Dickerson was also upset about DEI spending $85,000 for the position.

Huber and another board officer said the compensation package, which includes insurance and money for a retirement represent about $10,000 to $15,000 of the $85,000.

Huber also expressed confidence that the funding through tax increment finance revenues is appropriate and compared it to a similar arrangement used by the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission. On Tuesday, he also compared it to the city redevelopment commission’s use of TIF monies to pay for research for SoMa, the downtown revitalization group.

DEI was provided with $125,000 in TIF money to fund the position and cover other expenses. The redevelopment commission controls TIF revenues and approved the move. The Lerner Governing Board, which has oversight over DEI, also OK’d the use of the funds.

The DEI position is part of a coordinated effort with SoMa to help revive the downtown business district and nearby neighborhoods.

The city is establishing three SoMa-related positions at the Lerner Theatre. The position at DEI is the first paid position with the group in more than two years.

Under the revamped plan, DEI will focus much more attention on revitalizing neighborhoods adjacent to the downtown as well as an increased focus on bolstering the downtown business district.