Towns can get EDC voice at a price

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 04:43 PM

Union County's new economic development group is approved and towns are interested, but not all want a seat at the conference table.

"The majority of the communities have indicated that they want to be part of the program," County Manager Cindy Coto said.

Participation means Chris Platé, director of the new Monroe-Union economic development agency, develops a plan for each town based on what kind of business town leaders want to attract.

But there is another level of participation, Coto said. Since the new organization was born from Monroe Economic Development, its governing board will be made up of county and Monroe officials. Towns can get one of the eight county seats on that board and a vote, but it will cost $7,500.

So far, Fairview is the only municipality ready to pay that fee. Mineral Springs, Stallings, Marshville and Lake Park have said not this year, Coto said. Wingate, Hemby Bridge, Unionville, Waxhaw and Marvin have not yet responded.

Indian Trail submitted a letter asking for board participation, but requested the $7,500 be waived. The town's letter stated that because it had the county's largest population, its residents were already providing most of the tax revenue the county will use to fund its part of the economic development group.

Some towns have asked that the number of votes or the fee amount be based on the town budget or population. Coto said she would not change the original board organization.

"A vote is a vote," she said.

The new economic development group is in the early stages of formation. Coto said no official date has been set for the agency's first meeting because not all members of its board have been appointed yet, but agency organizers hope to meet in early February.