Havelock debates joining county economic group


Havelock Commissioner Jim Stuart speaks during a Havelock board meeting.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 03:27 PM.

Havelock commissioners balked at the idea of spending $25,000 up front to participate in a joint economic development organization with Craven County during their meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s not a lot of money, but it’s still money,” Havelock City Manager Frank Bottorff said.

Timothy Downs, director of economic development for the county, said the organization would have 21 members, including three from Havelock, three from New Bern and four from the county. The other 11 would be from the private sector.

The mission of the group would be to develop a plan to attract businesses to the area and create jobs.

In the past, Havelock commissioners have spent $30,000 with the firm Davenport Lawrence to develop its own economic plan, mainly as a way to diversify the economy should Cherry Point downsize and to attract other businesses to the area.

Downs said the benefit of a single economic development entity in the county would breed trust and credibility with the community, have greater flexibility and demonstrate unity between the areas involved.

While generally supportive of the concept, commissioners questioned a proposed funding structure that would require the city to pony up $25,000 as an initial buy-in on top of the $11,250 annual contribution.

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