EDC looks at board structure

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 05:30 AM

The Rutherford County Economic Development Commission (EDC) may be looking at reorganizing itself in the near future.

During its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, the board looked at different board structures used by other boards in North Carolina.

EDC Director Matt Blackwell brought board structures from Burke County, Mooresville-South Iredell County, Statesville and Gaston County. The one similarity between all of those examples is they all contain a private and a public entity as part of its structure.

"I tried to look at groups that have both components," Blackwell said.

The difference between the public and private groups is that the public entity assists with grants and works with local government whereas the private group helps with fundraising for the overall entity.

"They work together and really hand-in-hand," Blackwell said.

EDC Board Chairman Terry Hines said that Rutherford County had tried a similar structure before but it did not work.

"The people that were involved where more there to keep an eye on things rather than to take a progressive approach," Hines said. "I think a private/public methodology is more what we need."

Currently, the Rutherford County EDC Board is comprised of county commission appointees and is funded by the county commission. There is no private sector of the board.

In Burke County and Statesville, there is a private group called the Committee of 100. This is the group responsible for generating revenue as well as providing private sector leadership to the overall economic development group.

In Mooresville, the private group goes so far as to encourage "investment" from outside businesses like banks and major chain operations.

"With investors, I think we have an opportunity to look outside the county to see who can benefit from what we are doing," Blackwell said.

While discussing those options, EDC also discussed partnering with the Rutherford County and Hickory Nut Gorge chambers of commerce in a new venture.

Blackwell told the board that there is more information out there that can be garnered.

"This is just the start of the information I want to give to the board," Blackwell said. "If there is one that the board wants more information on, we can certainly do that."

The board elected to keep the item on its future agendas for further discussion.

"Getting something done over the course of the next 3-6 months would be ideal," Hines said.