By Taylor Boyd
Members of the Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Board discussed changes in the group’s focus at a January meeting.
EDA Director Sean Adkins said that after the last meeting, he met with Jason El Koubi, interim president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). Adkins said he was asked what the VEDP could do to help Patrick County.
“To be honest, this wasn’t a positive conversation,” Adkins said, and recounted the conversation.
“I said, ‘I don’t think you can right now. I don’t think you can because I have an EDA that won’t spend money and I have a community that is kind of torn between the board (of supervisors) and the EDA,’” Adkins said he told Koubi.
He added that he decided to share the conversation with EDA board members because he felt they deserved to hear about it.
“I tell you that because I’m on board, and I work really hard, and I want you to be right there with me. VEDP is ready, they’re ready to support and push, and they like the momentum being built here,” he said.
Authority member Ron Haley said the authority is willing to spend money, depending on the project.
“I don’t want the perception that we are not interested in putting our money where our mouth is. We are, but we want it to be the right project for us; that we understand what the project is and what the long-term benefits are,” he said.
Haley said the EDA currently is changing its focus. He noted that in the past, the authority’s focus was more on trying to support existing businesses already located in the county.
“Now, with Sean here and his experience in economic development and his contacts throughout the state, we as an EDA have got to learn how to use those and let Sean do what he does,” he said.
Haley added that the EDA board would continue to support existing businesses, while maintaining an open mind to the projects Adkins presents and working to better understand them and Adkins’ goals.
In other matters, the authority:
*Approved the consent agenda.
*Approved the minutes of its December meeting.
*Accepted the financial report as presented.
*Discussed the language used in the Machine and Tools Tax. Authority members asked Adkins for more information to be presented at the next meeting.
EDA members Bill Clark and Glenn Roycroft did not attend the meeting.