Supervisors considering new position
by Larry S. Chowning
The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors appears to be split on the issue of creating a county Economic Development and Tourism Department and hiring a coordinator to lead the program.
During a board retreat in January, which was held to discuss strategic long-term county plans, the possibility of creating the new department was discussed. The retreat was held in Gloucester County and conducted by former interim county administrator Bill Whitley.
The issue surfaced again when Middlesex County Administrator Matt Walker presented a preliminary 2013-14 budget at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 5. A $78,700 line item was in the budget to create an Economic Development and Tourism Department and hire a coordinator.
Harmony Village supervisor Jack Miller and Saluda District supervisor Pete Mansfield said there needed to be a great deal more discussion on the matter before they would consider voting for it.
Board chairman Carlton Revere said he was aware of the budgetary concerns of the two board members, but that three supervisors at the Gloucester retreat meeting indicated they wanted to see funding for the department at least within the preliminary county budget. The three members were Revere, Beth Hurd, and Wayne Jessie.
“It’s my feeling that we need to do something to encourage economic development and tourism in our county and most counties have a coordinator,” said Revere.
In a telephone interview with Walker on Monday, February 11, he said the proposal is “very preliminary, but that at least we are starting to think about this.”
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