LANCASTER – Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris says he paid his own way to attend the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi last week.
“That trip cost me personally about $45,000, that’s the cost for me to travel with my staff,” Parris said Monday. “It didn’t cost the City anything for me.”
Parris said he traveled to the conference with a Lancaster delegation that included City Manager Mark Bozigian and Deputy City Manager Jason Caudle. He estimates it costs the City about $10,000 for Bozigian and Caudle to attend the conference, but said it was “critical that they be there.”
“It did cost the City a little bit of money, [but] it cost me a fortune,” Parris said. “It’s not going to be returned for me, but it will be returned for the City.”
Returned by way of investments from key global players, he says.
“Prior to this, nobody there had heard of Lancaster, but by the time I left, I was meeting with the Mayor of Dubai and the Director General of Dubai,” Parris said. “They’re going to be sending some people out to look at Lancaster.”
Parris declined to elaborate on potential investments for Lancaster because the projects are still in the infancy stages, but said he was discussing some “pretty significant projects.”
“The discussions that we are having exceeded what I was hoping for by a factor of 10. I just don’t want to spoil anything, it’s gotta grow, it’s gotta develop,” he said. “It’s far more significant than I’d hoped.”
The Lancaster Delegation traveled to Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Jan. 14 and returned on Friday, Jan. 20. In addition to Parris, Bozigian and Caudle, the delegation included Beautiful Earth Group CEO Lex Heslin and his assistant. Parris said some of his flight arrangements were paid for by Abu Dhabi.
Read more about the trip below.