I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Macon County Economic Development Commission
September 27, 2011 Board Meeting

The Macon County EDC Board met last night in the Cecil Groves Building in the Franklin, NC Siler Farm Road campus of Southwestern Community College at 5.30pm. I was there and took video and here are my very brief notes on the meeting, followed by the agenda:

EDC Staff Change

Trevor Dalton, the Director of the Macon County EDC has resigned and County Manager Jack Horton praised his performance and service to the county and the board, including restarting the Annual Business/Industry Appreciation Dinner and pushing through the paperwork on getting Macon County recognized as a Certified Entrepreneurial Community. He also kept the EDC website up to date.

Jack Horton said there was no need to replace the EDC Director at this time, and a search was taking place to find someone suitable for the position.

Meeting Schedule for 2011 re-established

The Economic Development Commission Board set the meeting schedule for the rest of the year on the following dates and times: Tuesday, October 18th at 5pm; Tuesday, November 15th at 5pm; skip December since the 3rd Tuesday is on the 20th; meet on Tuesday, January 17th at 5pm and elect officers for the coming year at that time. The appointments of several members of the board will be coming to an end and either need to be reappointed or new members found to serve on the board. Jack Horton told members that there were no longer term limits on serving on local boards per a recent decision of the Macon County Commissioners.

ESC Unemployment Rates

EDC Board Chairman Ed Shatley mentioned the recent release of unemployment figures for Macon County and the the surrounding counties. Here is a table with the unemployment figures:

County August 2011 August 2010 July 2011
Macon 10.3 9.4 10.0
Jackson 8.4 7.8 8.8
Swain 11.1 10.2 10.8
Cherokee 13.4 13.1 13.3
Clay 10.2 10.2 10.0
Graham 14.6 12.6 14.7
Haywood 9.4 8.6 9.3
Transylvania 9.0 8.6 8.9

A general discussion followed regarding unemployment and conditions observed locally by various board members.

Business Development Center Activity

Board members discussed the continuing saga of Whitley Products being in the business incubator for several years and the effort to find them another location so that new businesses can be placed in the business incubator. Jack Horton mentioned that there would be a logistical challenge for Whitley to move the production lines that are in the incubator facility, and have been for six or seven years.

The Forex Currency Trader business that has recently been placed in the incubator facility was also discussed by board members.

Board members also discussed charging rates for the use of the business incubator that increased over a period of time to encourage businesses to get serious about finding a permanent location instead of staying in the county facilities for years on end.

Retail Business Development

The board discussed the recent failure to get a Mast Store to locate in the JC Jacobs Building (current site of Peoples Dept Store). Members also discussed the pending move of Wal Mart into their new facilities (Oct 2012 target date for opening) on Dowdle Mountain Rd and the attendant empty building in the Holly Springs Plaza. Jack Horton discussed recent favorable changes in the retail sales tax distribution method. Mayor Joe Collins mentioned that there was a possibility a new ABC Store location next to the new Super Wal Mart. 

Closed Session

Board members went onto a closed session and promised to inform members of the local press of what (if anything) was decided behind closed doors regarding two prospects for locating in the incubator facility. As of 6.30 am the next morning, I have received no email regarding any decisions taken by the EDC Board. Members of the press that were in attendance at the meeting were a reporter from The Macon County News, one reporter representing The Franklin Press and myself, representing this blog. There was one member of the public, Lewis Penland also present. He serves as chairman of the Macon County Planning Board. End of notes.

On this agenda, I am trying something new. I am posting the time in the video at which this particular item was taken up in the video for those who don't want to sit through the whole video. You can just scrub through the timeline to get to each particular portion of the meeting that you are interested in.

Macon County EDC



1. Call to Order - Chairman Shatley  [00:00]

2. Quorum Check (12 members, 7 required) [00:11] (11 seconds into the video)

3. Report on Staff Change - County Manager Horton [00:25]
    A. Interim EDC Director [05:50]
    B. Meeting Schedule for 2011 [10:37]
4. Other Reports:  [19:10]
    A. ESC Unemployment Rates [19:20]
    B. Business Development Center Activity (Incubator)
        1. Whitley Products [23.15]
        2. Forex    [28:22]
   C. Retail Business Development [33:48]
5. Closed Session [38:00]
6. Other Business
7. Adjourn

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