Industrial Development Board Concerned about Upcoming Resolutions

The Jefferson County Industrial Development Board met on Friday, November 17, 2017 on the ground floor of the Jefferson County Health Department. Chairman Mike Dockery presided over the meeting. Jefferson County Commissioner David Seal addressed the body concerning two resolutions that will be before the County Commission on Monday for vote. Seal, the driving force behind both resolutions, brought both last week during the Jefferson County Commission Work Session. The resolutions in question deal with the structure of future economic development and the funding distribution association with that structure.

Commissioner Seal is proposing to identify the Industrial Development Board as the organization at the lead of the economic development hierarchy. Currently, the structure functions with a three pronged approach, with the Industrial Development Board charged with identifying potential economic development sites and opportunities, procuring property, funding, and grants as available, as well as vetting industries for potential abatement. The Economic Development Alliance is the tourism and sales arm of economic development, charged with identifying potential businesses that might be interested in locating in Jefferson County and bringing those opportunists to the table for negotiations, as well as supporting and growing tourism potential in Jefferson County. The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce acts as support for existing business as well as recruitment.

Members of the Industrial Development Board expressed concern that the Board, which consists of volunteers who are otherwise employed, would not have the time or resources to adequately support a restructuring that would put them in charge of sales, recruitment, and also a growing tourist industry. Additional concerns regarding the expertise to function in the tourism market or as sales recruitment were raised. Though Commissioner Seal brought the item for informational purposes, the consensus of the majority of the IDB, based on statements from various members, appeared to be supportive of maintaining the current structure and funding mechanism.

In other action, the IDB elected Jeff Depew as Treasurer. They also approved the minutes of the previous meeting and heard financial reports.

Source: K. Depew, News Director

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014