Miller "totally in the dark"; Griggs blames County legal counsel Dykhouse        
COLUMBIA, 4/11/12  (Beat Byte) --  Boone County residents wondering how the City of Columbia could legally blight large portions of the county may have some answers in email exchanges between Boone County and REDI officials one observer described as "truly zany."   
Obtained by Citizens Involved and Invested in Columbia (CiViC), the emails show that County Commissioners didn't start learning about the Blight Decree/EEZ tax incentive program until nearly two weeks after Columbia City Council members approved it Feb. 6.

In the Dark
"Karen:  I would like to meet with you to discuss the EEZ," Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI) director Mike Brooks wrote Southern Boone County Commissioner Karen Miller on February 13. 
"This will be a great way to handle this -- but we'll need to have our stuff completely together for Ms. Lensmeyer!"  REDI chairman Dave Griggs added, referencing County Collector Pat Lensmeyer.   
"I agree, but I would like to be informed myself about what all this means," Ms. Miller emailed Griggs.  "I am totally in the dark.  I don't see us signing off on unincorporated areas unless it meets our Chapter 100 standards."
"Chapter 100" is a tax incentive program counties use.   

"Help me respond to this Boss!" Griggs emailed Brooks, blaming County legal counsel CJ Dykhouse for the failure to communicate.   "I thought CJ was keeping the Commissioners informed one on one -- obviously I'm wrong!    Hopefully this will not be a big hurdle!"
Miller emailed Griggs and Brooks to schedule the meeting.   "The Commission would like to have a work session concerning this issue which includes Pat Lensmeyer, our Chapter 100 rep, and C.J. so we all get on the same page," she said.
That was eight days after the City Council passed the Resolution. 
Blame Game
Two days later -- on Feb. 16 -- Griggs -- who owns Dave Griggs' Flooring America -- emailed Ms. Miller again, pointing to EEZ/Blight Decree opponents, Dykhouse, and Presiding Commissioner Ed Robb -- who died last September -- as sources of the information gap.   
"Karen -- sorry it took me so long to get this back to you," Griggs emailed.  "Needless to say I was a bit surprised with your note telling me that you aren't up to speed on our EEZ plan
"Obviously incorrectly, I thought that with Robb involved in the planning committee that forwarded the proposal to our board,  that the plan we had agreed on was actually being implemented in that C.J. would meet with everyone individually to keep everyone up to speed on this sort of thing.

"Whatever.  Mike and I will gladly meet with you whenever to brief you and get you up to speed on this program," Griggs continued.   "We do have a fairly large industrial employer that wants to utilize this program to expand and create 100+ jobs -- so this is a very viable program.
"Too bad there is all the incorrect BS being spread about what it is and what it does."