- Envision Greater Fond du Lac, the area's chamber of commerce and economic development organization, will no longer get money from the city in 2024.
- The money will be reallocated to the Community Development fund.
- Video shows how city leaders are thinking about the issue.
FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — The city of Fond du Lac has funded Envision Greater Fond du Lac, the county’s chamber of commerce and economic development organization, since the organization started in 2017, according to its CEO Sadie Vander Velde.
In 2024, that money will stop.
“This is a historic first,” Vander Velde said.
She said the city’s decision to stop funding the organization came as a surprise to her and her team. And now they're making some changes, including starting to charge a fee when entrepreneurs need services, which used to be free.
“Often that is the number one thing we get asked for is technical assistance: ‘how do I write a business plan?’ How can I plan for growth?’” Vander Velde said.
Fond du Lac City Council President Keith Heisler said the decision will allow money to keep going toward economic development, just in a different way. It will be reallocated to the city’s community development fund.
“I think the majority of the dollars would be business focused,” Heisler said. “But it may be a situation where they could end up doing some. . . infrastructure type things.”
Envision Greater Fond du Lac serves all of Fond du Lac County, but the city’s community development fund just serves the city.
“We know first for certain that these economic development dollars will stay in the city of Fond du Lac,” Heisler said. “We weren't sure we could say that, giving the money to Envision.”
But Vander Velde says since Fond du Lac is the biggest city in the county, they need the funding.
“You know, we can't do economic development alone,” Vander Velde said.
Both groups plan to continue conversations to clarify expectations moving forward. Heisler said he would be open to having the city fund certain projects for Envision, just not an annual allocation.