BYH: To the city of Greenville. You spend dollars promoting uptown Greenville to draw many in. Now you want to drive...

Pitt commissioners holding Saturday workshop on economic development


By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Participation in a public-private partnership for economic development is the subject of a special meeting the Pitt County Board of Commissioners is holding at 11 a.m. on Saturday, according to a news release.

The meeting is being held at the Council on Aging, 4551 County Home Road. It is open to the public, but there is no public comment period.

One year ago the county, the City of Greenville, Greenville Utilities Commission and Committee of 100, a nonprofit group that provides capital funding for economic development, hired a consultant to examine how various multiple economic development efforts could be streamlined. The study also researched the likelihood of local businesses and industries contributing to economic development efforts.

The report suggested existing economic development organizations be combined under the umbrella of a public-private partnership governed by a board made up of elected officials and individuals from the private sector.

Commissioners Beth Ward and Tom Coulson expressed skepticism about the proposal. The Pitt County Development Commission is an entity created by the state legislature. The county also is enabled through legislation to dedicate up to 3 cents of its tax rate towards economic development activities. There was concern the county would lose oversight of that funding.

Despite their concerns, the Board of Commissioners agreed to participate in a working committee tasked with developing the partnership’s governance, bylaws, budgeting and staff.

On Dec. 19 the committee endorsed a concept, funding sources and models for governing and staff the partnership. A month later Coulson and Ward withdrew the county’s support. The city of Greenville and members of the working committee decided to move forward with presentation to their various organizations.The Greenville City Council, GUC and Pitt County Development Commission all are scheduled to receive presentations on the committee’s work on Monday.

Under the plan endorsed by the working committee, Pitt County would have five seats on the partnership’s board of directors, Greenville would have three and county’s smaller municipalities would have four seats and the private sector would have 12 seats, plus more for top investors which likely will include East Carolina University and Vidant Health.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.