STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA            )                    OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS

                                                            )                    STOKES COUNTY GOVERNMENT

COUNTY OF STOKES                     )                    DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                            )                    MARCH 20, 2006

 

 

 

            The Board of Commissioners of the County of Stokes, State of North Carolina, met

 

for special session to discuss Economic Development Issues in Stokes County in the

 

Commissioners’ Chambers of the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Building

 

(Administrative Building) located in Danbury, North Carolina on Monday, March 20, 2006

 

at 5:30 pm with the following members present:

 

                                                Chairman Leon Inman

                                                Vice-Chairman Joe Turpin

Commissioner Sandy McHugh                                                Commissioner John Turpin

                                                Commissioner Jimmy Walker

 

                                                County Personnel in Attendance:

                                                Clerk to the Board/Interim County Manager Darlene Bullins

                                                Economic Development Director Ron Morgan

                                                Budget Director Dennis Thompson

 

                                                Others in Attendance:

                                                Chairman Wayne Smart- Stokes Co. Water & Sewer Authority

 

 

Chairman Leon Inman called the Special Session to discuss Economic Development

 

Issues in Stokes County to order.

 

Commissioner Walker delivered the invocation.

 

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT-GOVERNING BODY-PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

            Chairman Inman opened the meeting by inviting the citizens in attendance to

 

join the Board with the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

            Commissioner John Turpin opened the meeting by discussing the importance of

 

Economic Development in Stokes County.

 

            Economic Director Ron Morgan began the session by updating the Board regarding

 

the Stokes County Economic Development Board in which members were appointed by the

 

Board of Commissioners.  Years later the Economic Development Board was rolled into a

 

non-profit Board called the Stokes County Development Corporation, Inc which is a

 

501C(6), which is still partly in existence.  The organization was similar to a Chamber of

 

Commerce.

 

            Director Morgan discussed the following:

 

·        Two years ago, after the Angelo Economic Study and the Piedmont Triad Vision Economic Study, there was the development of the Stokes County Tourism Council

·        Currently, the Development Corporation is being merged with the Stokes County Tourism Council

·        Angelo Economic Study and Piedmont Triad Vision Economic Study both have pretty much the same goals and strategies:

o       Top priority for the Economic Region in Stokes County is to improve and invest in the K-12 Education System

o       Focus on the Work Force Development population who has no skills

o       Development of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Stokes County – very expensive tool to produce –possible funding available with one to one match

o       High speed internet for every household in Stokes County

·        Forsyth Tech Community College located on the Government Center complex

·        Forsyth Tech Community College Small Business Center located in Walnut Cove

·        One man Economic Development Staff with a moderate budget to deliver all related economic development services in Stokes County

·        Development Stokes County Economic Development Web Site

·        Web Site – network create for visitors to Stokes County

·        Creation of Treasures of Stokes County brochure

·        Creation of Sauratown Trails Map

·        Creation of Dan River Map – New (from Jessup Mill to Moratock Park)

 

 

·        Piedmont Triad Partnership – awarded $15 million grant from the US Department of Labor – to address the population that has been left behind

from jobs lost from tobacco, furniture, textiles, etc. 

·        Limited amount of industries coming to Stokes County from the location of Dell (Forsyth County) and FedEx (Guilford County) – usually impacts 12 mile radius- beyond that there is will impact - could be some small industries in the future

·        Urgent need for skilled labor force in Stokes County

·        Currently, do not have the labor force in Stokes County for jobs in the future

·        Stokes County labor force – 22,000 people of which 72% go outside the County to work

·        Quality of life in Stokes County

·        Loss Agricultural in Stokes County

·        Growers’ CoOp has resources available for farmers to look at different products and techniques to replace tobacco

·        Major difficulty for farmers to change from tobacco to a different crop

·        Technology driving the economy changes

·        Current Economic Projects in Stokes County – major project to develop a lodging area near Hanging Rock State Park

·        Developing a program to be placed on the Web Site to help individuals  “Start a New Business”

·        Tourism in Stokes County – pros and cons

·        Getting Tourism in Stokes County – major hurdles

·        Need to look at all resources in Stokes County

·        Low unemployment rate in Stokes County compared to like size counties

·        1996 Stokes County Land Development Guide- only document that Stokes County currently has that reflects land development in Stokes

 

 

The Board discussed the following issues regarding the Economic Development in

 

Stokes County:

 

·        Vocational studies taken out of the schools – negative effect – not all students desire to go to a 4-year college – need for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.

·        Need for infrastructure, water, and sewer for economic growth and produces residential growth

·        Families in Stokes County who have strong family heritage

·        Families in Stokes County who desire to continue to run the family farm

·        Possible new industry in Stokes – organic vegetables and herbs

·        Working out of the home – need for high speed wireless internet over the entire county

·        Need to help citizens get started in own business

·        Need to help current businesses get stronger

·        Development in Stokes County over the next 5 to 10 years

·        Need for a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for Stokes County

·        Economic Development needed to take the burden off the taxpayer

·        Need for an inventory of space available for commercial growth

·        Need for an inventory of space not zoned commercial that could possibly be used as commercial in the future

·        Tourism in Stokes County – pros and cons

·        Maintaining the quality of life in Stokes County

·        Residential growth puts further demands on the tax dollar – schools, emergency services, public safety, etc

·        Need for all areas in Stokes County to work together

·        Stokes County a bedroom community to larger surrounding counties

·        Stokes County - Tourism designation

 

The Board discussed in detail the need and value of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan

 

for Stokes County and possible ways to achieve accomplish this goal with limited funding.

 

Chairman Wayne Smart noted the following:

 

·        Storage facility at Brook Cove not currently being used – someway to acquire from Reynolds to use as an industrial area

·        Need for infrastructure in Stokes County

·        Sewer needed in Germanton to attract residential and businesses (water already there)

 

Budget Director Dennis Thompson commended the work done by Economic

 

Development Director Ron Morgan for his hard work and dedication over the years to

 

Stokes County.

 

            Budget Director Thompson discussed what economic development means to Stokes

 

County, impacts to Stokes County, and value to Stokes County.  Director Thompson also

 

commented briefly on the need and value of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

 

            The Board concluded their special economic development session by developing the

 

following objectives:

           

·        Do an outline of a comprehensive land use plan and learn its resources

·        Involve planning professionals

·        Make sure to support economic development with tourism as a major sector

·        Develop an industrial development resource list

·        Inventory of water and sewer needs

·        Strategic plan for quality of life, industrial development

·        To incorporate other municipalities with the comprehensive land use plan

·        How to become the “best” county possible

           

Economic Development Director Ron Morgan expressed his appreciation to the

 

Board for taking their time to hold this special session regarding economic development in

 

Stokes County.

 

            Chairman Inman requested guidance in the future from Director Morgan has to how

 

the Board could help with Economic Development issues in Stokes County.  Director

 

Morgan responded that a meeting such as this is a great start for everyone involved.

 

            Commissioner John Turpin presented information regarding the Eight-County North

 

Carolina/Virginia Regional Tourism Planning Initiative.  Commissioner John Turpin

 

stated that correspondence received from Surry County Manager Macon Sammons is

 

requesting funding (approximately $2000) for Consultant’s fees for the remainder of the FY

 

2005-06 to be used by the Regional Tourism Planning Initiative along with additional

 

funding (estimated at $7500) for the FY 2006-07.   Budget Director Dennis Thompson

 

spoke regarding the Progress Report, which detailed the background of this group.  Budget

 

Director Dennis Thompson may be taking over the consultant duties of this group in the

 

future.  Commissioner John Turpin requested that the Board review the information for

 

discussion at the March 27th meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Inman

 

entertained a motion to adjourn the special session.  Commissioner McHugh moved to

 

adjourn the special session.  Vice Chairman Joe Turpin seconded and the motion carried

 

unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_________________________                                  _____________________________

Darlene M. Bullins                                                    J. Leon Inman

Clerk to the Board                                                  Chairman