EDC names interim leaders

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 07:51 PM

The Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission has temporarily filled its chairman and vice-chairman positions.

The board voted to approve Tom Church as interim chairman and Jim Kearney as interim vice-chairman at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

Andrea Harris, board secretary and treasurer, said the permanent appointments will be made sometime this summer.

Sam Watkins Jr., former chairman for more than 30 years, died unexpectedly last month, and Paul Harris, the former vice chairman, resigned in late February.

At the meeting, the board also continued its February discussion on whether the organization can afford significantly higher membership dues to the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

RTRP is a public-private partnership composed of economic development agencies that works with state entities to market the 13-county region for new investments.

The Henderson-Vance EDC has been paying about $4,500 in dues, but that could increase to roughly $12,000 if the organization decides to raise dues from 10 cents per capita to 30 cents per capita.

Some board members said the expense is worth the connections RTRP offers.

“Given my age, I remember when Vance County functioned in sort of a isolated matter which proved in the long term to be detrimental to us in terms of our overall economic growth,” Harris said. “I think relationships make a difference, and if we would utilize those relationships that are available to us through RTRP, I think we could help the county.”

Chuck Teeter, chairman of the finance committee, said the proposed fiscal year 2014-’15 budget for the Henderson-Vance EDC allocates $4,500 for RTRP dues.

Any additional revenue for those dues would likely come from the EDC’s marketing budget, he said.

“You would have to determine where you would be better off,” he said. “Would you get more out of the $10,000 in RTRP or out of the marketing side?”

The board members agreed to determine where Franklin, Warren and Granville counties stand on the issue.

“I do think it is important for us to poll the other counties and know what their plans are too,” Church said. “I think it’s important that, whatever we do, we present a united front.”

The board also received an update from the site identification committee, which is in the process of listing unoccupied Raleigh Road properties on a state site database.

Informational letters with details about the database and the role of the Henderson-Vance EDC will go out to the property owners soon.

“I would add the property owners have been slow in responding to us,” said Bob Herford, a member of the site identification committee. “We make the contact and you make another contact and another contact, and they don’t do what they are supposed to do to help you help them. I think these letters will hopefully help them.”


Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.