02/05/04 — EDC sets goals

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EDC sets goals

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on February 5, 2004 2:02 PM

The Wayne County Economic Development Commission made plans Wednesday for a busy 2004.

Despite the news this week that Goldsboro is rated the fourth most attractive area in North Carolina for economic development, the commission cannot afford to rest, EDC President Joanna Thompson said.

"Our plate is going to be extremely full this year, but it's all things we need to do if we're going to stay competitive," she said after the meeting.

Many of the commission's 2004 goals were discussed during a retreat last month at Atlantic Beach. Wayne County commissioners, Goldsboro officials, Chamber of Commerce leaders, and others had input into the list of goals, but the EDC had the final say.

This year's priorities include:

*Reassessing existing industrial sites and identifying potential new ones. The EDC is interested in finding land in all areas of the county that could be developed as either new industrial parks or stand-alone plants.

*Considering offering a guarantee to industries that employees will have the reading and math skills for work or the county will retrain them at its own expense.

*Completing a long-range plan for the EDC.

*Seeking money for a new employee who would work exclusively with local companies to help them to expand and hire new employees.

*Completing an in-depth study of the local workforce.

*Setting guidelines for the future sale of the county's shell buildings.

The commission will also explore the possibility of a "land-banking" program.

Under this program, the EDC could increase the supply of industrial sites by reaching agreements with private landowners on the price they would accept for their land. That would enable the land to be advertised and marketed. Also, some improvements -- roads, utilities, etc. -- could be begun.

The EDC cannot market privately owned land without an agreement on its cost because of the risk of attracting an interested buyer, only to have the seller decided at the last minute to ask for more money.