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County's economic development share goes to nonprofit

LAWRENCEVILLE — Gwinnett’s government agreed to pay $500,000 for economic development efforts, but this year, the money goes to a nonprofit subject to open records law.

Officials voted Wednesday to help fund the Partnership Gwinnett initiative, a Chamber of Commerce-led effort credited with drawing thousands of jobs to the county since 2007.

After complaints last year about government funding mingling with the private dollars that were used to support a tax initiative, officials created the Partnership Gwinnett Public Funding Enterprise.

With funds from local cities, the county government, the school system and area community improvement districts — a total of $850,000 — directed this year to the PFE, the entity is subject to Georgia’s sunshine laws, allowing people to see how the public funds are spent.

“I think going forward, it should put to rest any question about the openness,” said Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who is a member of the nonprofit board. “It has to be treated just like we keep the records of our (Board of Commissioners) meetings, so it should be easy for anyone looking for information.”