UPDATE: Commissioners cancel meeting with economic development board

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UPDATE: 9 a.m. Monday

Tuesday’s special called meeting with Brunswick County commissioners and the Economic Development Commission Board of Directors has been canceled, the county announced Monday morning.

According to Brunswick County Public Information Officer Amanda Hutcheson, the meeting has been canceled “due to scheduling conflicts with several Brunswick County commissioners.” EDC board of directors will still meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday.


Original story: 

The agency in charge of industry recruitment and economic development in Brunswick County and county commissioners will meet on Tuesday to discuss what, if any, relationship the county and the agency will have moving forward.

During a meeting last week, the board of directors that oversees the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission (EDC) adopted a resolution that the EDC and its nonprofit Economic Development Commission Foundation separate from county government.

County commissioners and EDC board of directors will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the next steps.

Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy gave the board of directors three options to move forward with the EDC’s future at last week’s meting.

Hardy gave them the option to operate the EDC with the EDC managing all funding and operations, but with the county managing all financial transactions. Another option Hardy presented would have required Bradshaw and EDC commissioners to resign their posts so that the county could develop a county EDC that would report to the county manager and county commissioners.

Ultimately, the board accepted Hardy’s third option for the EDC to become “a truly separate organization” from the county government.

“The county would enter into a contract for services to support the organization,” Hardy’s proposal states. “The EDC would solicit funds to from other entities to assist with operations. ”

The EDC, which is currently housed in the Brunswick County Government Complex in Bolivia, would also have to find another location off-campus or reimburse the county “for space and services.” The foundation would also be required to become a non-public and separate entity from the EDC. EDC employees would cease to be county employees and the EDC would be responsible for salary and benefits of its employees, which currently is made up of a director, assistant director and economic development manager.

“I am in agreement that some things need to change regarding our county’s approach to economic development, but it is unwise to marry ourselves to a specific solution before we have thoroughly considered the pros and cons — and potential unintended consequences — of every available course of action,” Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams said. “Our current economic development commission was created by the N.C. General Assembly, and if we were to move away from the commission structure we would need to thoroughly consider the legal and legislative ramifications of moving to a different approach.

“Regardless of whether our economic development efforts continue being managed by a commission or eventually transition to a county department, that course of action needs to be well researched and properly planned to ensure that it is the best long-term strategy for Brunswick County.”

The new EDC structure will take effect Oct. 1, when director Jim Bradshaw plans to retire.

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