The Havelock Board of Commissioners directed the city manager and city planner to work with the planning board to develop an outline for an economic development plan during its meeting Monday night.
Commissioners, meeting jointly with members of the Havelock Planning Board, heard an economic development presentation by Roger Sauls, of Davenport Lawrence, in which Sauls first detailed national economic trends and how North Carolina ranked among other states in a variety of economic categories.
"This is a very high level, 30,000 feet level, view of economic development," Sauls said as he whisked through bar charts.
Sauls pointed out that Craven County is currently developing an economic development strategy.
"Everything that Craven County does may not fit in Havelock," Sauls said.
Sauls said the plan would be a long-term commitment.
"This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon," he said.
Sauls said Havelock needed to look beyond its golden economic egg that is Cherry Point.
"It’s hugely important to diversify your economic base," he said.
However, he said the city needed to use the talent that abounds in base personnel.
"The assets that you have stepping off this base are some that you should be utilizing in entrepreneurial projects," Sauls said.
He said the city needed to develop a policy on economic incentives that could be used to attract prospective businesses.
"The deal gets done at a local level," he said.
He also said the city needed to have a consistent message for prospective businesses.
He said that the quality of life in the city is hugely important, but more important are basic economic indicators such as the number of homes, and the number of families with children and their incomes.
Members of the planning board expressed a desire to hear specific ideas tailored to Havelock.
"I think it’s imperative that we develop a Havelock marketing plan that is completely independent from the county," said planning board member Brad Turner.
Mayor Jimmy Sanders expressed a desire to develop a plan that dovetails with the county plan.
"I would hope that we would be doing the Havelock package at the same time," he said. "I want to be part of that team. I want us to be part of what the county does and part of what the state does."
Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce, said though Cherry Point is important, it’s not all there is to Havelock.
"We are not totally branded here in Havelock. We have previously been branded as a military community, but we need to diversify," she said.
The board directed city manager Jim Freeman and city planner Katrina Marshall to work together with the assets of the planning board in developing an outline for a plan that would be presented to commissioners in late September.
In other business during Monday’s meeting, the board heard from public services director Bill Ebron that continuation of the city’s electronic recycling program would cost $16,900. The city is looking at possible solutions to the cost.
Ebron also told commissioners that the renovation/expansion of the animal control building is expected to be completed by Aug. 25.