FOLEY -- Economic development is a top priority for Benton County as they look to grow their tax base and bring down its tax rate.  As a result, Benton County is committing some funding to help create an organization to work on bringing in new businesses while also growing the ones already in operation.

County Administrator Monty Headley says the county board has committed $75,000 a year in its budget to create the organization to promote economic development.  But, Headley says they want cities, townships and Benton County businesses to be part of the organization and have a say in what economic development should look like in their county.

Headley estimates an annual budget of about $150,000 with the county paying half and its other members covering the other half of those costs.

County officials will be presenting the plan to the Sauk Rapids City Council tonight (Monday) and will be doing the same with other boards in the near future.

If the support is there, Headley says they'd like to have the organization up-and-running sometime late spring or early summer.