Jefferson city council member Larry Teeples took Greene County Development Corporation executive director Ken Paxton to task at the council meeting for comments Paxton made publicly last month about economic development activity in the county.
Teeples comments came after Paxton made his quarterly report to the council.
Teeples said that after hearing a couple of Paxton’s recent talks, he came away “with kind of a bad feeling.”
“I just want to say that the people here are elected by the people in Jefferson and we have to be fiscally responsible for what we do. If we see something that doesn’t look good to us, we can’t let it go,” Teeples said. “You said at some of these meetings that we was setting back and kind of watching, not doing anything.”
Paxton answered that his comments weren’t aimed at the city council.
“It was the city of Jefferson you’re talking about. We are the city of Jefferson,” Teeples said. “I think we move forward on everything, and so I just wanted to clear that up with you. A lot of people went out of these meetings with a pretty bad taste in their mouth.”
“I’ve spent five years trying to be 100 percent positive about all things at all times,” Paxton answered. “I’m sorry, but I’m allowed to have an opinion, and I’ve thought since the casino that some people have thought, ‘We’re done. We’ve got the casino. We’re finished. We don’t have to do anything.’ It wasn’t directed at the city council. It wasn’t directed at anybody specific, but my goal is to scare people to keep the momentum going. We need to continue to grow.
“We’ve got the visibility. We’re seen across the state as a growing, progressive community. I didn’t want to lose that. I didn’t want that drive and initiative to go away,” Paxton said.
Paxton apologized and said, “It wasn’t meant to be anything critical. It was meant to keep people moving along.”
In his report Paxton said he is working on three different housing projects. He’s working with Region XII in forming a western Iowa contingent within the Highway 30 coalition, and that he’s in discussion with the Greene County Early Learning Center about future planning. He is working with development of the west business park and working on maps of potential commercial sites on Highway 30 near Wild Rose Casino.