04/08/04 — Economic Development looks for new employee

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Economic Development looks for new employee

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 8, 2004 2:04 PM

The Wayne County Economic Development Commission is again asking the county for a new employee to focus on existing businesses and industries.

The commission agreed Wednesday on a proposed 2004-2005 budget to submit to the county commissioners. The $370,000 request is up nearly $50,000 from this year.

The commission is asking for the additional money mainly to be able to hire an existing business and industry coordinator. This person would work exclusively with local companies to help them to expand and hire new employees.

"It's more than just someone to call the local businesses and say hello," said EDC President Joanna Thompson.

The new employee would visit all the county's major manufacturers on a regular basis, talk with plant managers and other officials, and assist them with any issues that might prevent expansion or cause layoffs.

More than 80 percent of new jobs are created by the expansion of businesses that are already in the community, Ms. Thompson said.

Also, businessmen could give the EDC representative leads to other industries -- suppliers, partners, etc. -- that could relocate or expand to Wayne County.

The commission has wanted to hire a business coordinator for several years, but they haven't asked the last two years because of the budget crunch. However, all seven county commissioners attended the commission's retreat in January. Filling that position was chosen as one of the top goals for this year.

The commission has three employees: Ms. Thompson; Michelle Blackwell, the marketing coordinator; and Carla Tino, the administrative assistant.

The county commissioners expect to begin the 2004-2005 budget discussions next month. After the county budget is approved, the EDC will give final approval to its budget.