MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Commissioners said they will seek local partners in a membership with the Columbus-based Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).
Commissioners voted Tuesday to become full members in MORPC, a transportation and economic expansion planning group focused on the central Ohio area. By joining, the county gains accessibility to MORPC’s staff for technical assistance in such areas as financing services for projects, regional mapping and data collection, energy and air quality resources, economic growth, broadband, and advocacy and lobbying services.
The cost of membership is based on population, and is expected be $21,102. The membership does not include the City of Mount Vernon. As members, the county will have three seats on MORPC’s board.
Knox County Area Development Foundation (ADF) Director Jeffry Harris answered commissioners’ questions about MORPC prior to the vote. Harris has advocated for the county to join, and said the vote marked “a good day for the ADF.”
“We don’t have a strong bench of regional planning staff,” Harris said. “(MORPC) has a couple dozen planners.”
One of the questions was a concern voiced by Commissioner Thom Collier that MORPC is “Columbus-centric.”
Collier said the county will approach other government entities to partner in the membership. Those entities could include the health department and Mount Vernon, Collier said.
Knox County has previously worked with MORPC in a two-year collaboration identifying transportation projects in the group’s region. In the collaboration, the county was represented as an associate.