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CLINTON - The Clinton City Council will vote next month whether to spend $47,000 to help pay for the proposed DeWitt County Development Corp., which will be used to promote development in the county.

The corporation would be used by Clinton, DeWitt County and Farmer City, which have been asked to generate $100,000. The corporation would be the initial point of contact for businesses looking to locate or expand in the county. Among its priorities is to hire a director and find an office.

"The purpose of the DeWitt County Development Corp. is to encourage, foster, promote and stimulate economic development in DeWitt County," steering committee spokesman Roger Sprague said. "We have been putting together a job description for the director and bylaws for the past four months."

On Monday, the City Council told City Attorney Steve Myers to draft an agreement with the county and Farmer City to move forward with the project.

Sprague said the nonprofit organization can apply for grants and spend time on economic development, which government leaders may not have the time or resources to do.

"There is money in our city budget that has already been earmarked for economic development and we can use that money towards this," Mayor Ed Wollet said. "I think economic development is very important to this community and to this county. We want to see our city grow and we want to see our businesses grow, as well as those throughout the county."

During his recent campaign for mayor, Wollet and Finance Commissioner Tom Edmunds both focused on economic development.

"We have to look at this as not only an expenditure, but as an investment," Edmunds said. "This benefits the entire county and I'm very much in favor of it."

Edmunds said the city can use part of an unexpected surplus city's sales tax receipts for part of its $47,000 outlay.

The corporation, if funded, would include two representatives from Clinton, two from DeWitt County, one from Farmer City, one from the Farmer City Chamber of Commerce and one from the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

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