Nash weighs leaving gateway partnership


Staff Writer

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Nash County Board of Commissioners is considering pulling out of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

Commissioners are set to discuss the matter Monday morning at their regularly-scheduled monthly meeting.

An agenda item for the meeting is titled "Commissioners to Discuss the Future Relationship between Nash County and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership."

Supplimental information includes a statement from County Manager Zee Lamb on an agenda information sheet.

"Commissioners will decide whether to continue to be a partner in the Partnership or to discontinue being a partner and take on economic development as a county department," Lamb said.

The information sheet includes the following points about economic development in Nash County using data from the Partnership:

■ New Industry Growth — In the past five years, the Partnership reports large industry/business investments of $247,850,000; of that amount $210,550,000 were expansion investments of existing Nash County industries. Therefore, 85 percent of Nash County’s five-year industry growth has been expansion of existing industry, not newly attracted industry.

■ New Jobs Created — In the past five years the Partnership reports a growth of 269 jobs in Nash County, with 193 of those attributable to existing industry growth. The result is 76 new jobs from new industry for Nash County in the past five-year period, an average of 15 jobs each year.

■ Nash County Economic Development was very successful in the past, attracting Abbott/Pfizer, Consolidated Diesel/Cummings, Honeywell, Texify, London Mills and more.

■ A study of the state shows that 97 percent of North Carolina counties have a department either solely involved or a department working with other entities within their county on economic development.

■ Establishing an economic development champion for Nash County eliminates the conflict that occurs among counties when vying for the same companies.

■ The county has invested in a retail economic developer and adding a focus on large business and industry would be a logical next step.

■ A dedicated department within Nash County would provide a more concentrated emphasis on the whole county, both rural and urban.

■ The Nash economic developer would report directly to the county manager and the Nash County commissioners, improving communications and business negotiations.

■ A Nash County Economic Development Department would give the county an individual presence and identity when it comes to economic development.

■ Establishing a county department would provide independence, operational control and flexibility to recruit economic development.

The agenda otherwise has routine items with a call for a closed session at the end for commissioners to discuss economic development and the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the county.

The board is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. in the Frederick B. Cooper Commissioners Room on the third floor of the Claude Mayo Jr. Administration Building at 120 West Washington St. in downtown Nashville.