By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Development Authority voted to elect the officers for the upcoming year’s term. The members chosen are not new to the authority and have served for some time. The motion was carried that the current officers remain in the positions they currently serve. Those officers are Wayne Smith as President, Dan Dilly as Vice-President, Roscoe Beall as Treasurer, and Sandra Frank as Secretary.
Executive Committee members of the authority were also selected. Those members are Dennis Filler, JR Helmick and Ben Nelson. These three members are in addition to the selected officers.
Executive Director Steve Leyh reported that Tucker County’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in May. The rate is the lowest unemployment in 32 years. Leyh also reported that small business growth was accelerating.
Tucker County has added 48 new business entities in 2022 at a growth rate of 8.54 percent. In the past 12 months the Secretary of State registered 81 new business entities in Tucker County. This represents a growth of 14.11 percent. The authority plans to continue to counsel and assist entrepreneurs.
Small business growth may be on the rise, but the real estate market is trending down -14.2 percent year-over-year. The median listing home in Tucker County was $289,000 in June. The median listing home price per square foot was $210 with the median home sold price was $247,500.
The Development Authority is working with the Region 7 Planning in collaboration with the Corridor H Authority. They will conduct a site analysis study to identify developable sites for industrial and commercial development along Corridor H. The study will evaluate identified sites based upon factors such as access, topography, infrastructure, environmental constraints, and surrounding land uses.
The project area includes Barbour, Grant, Hardy, Lewis, Randolph, Tucker, and Upsher counties. The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded $100,000 in funding for the project. An additional $125,000 in funding is being sought through the United States Economic Development Administration.
Leyh ended the meeting with an explanation of a book he read on economic development titled “Economic Development is not for Amateurs”. The book is written by Jay Garner and Ross Patent. The book shows forward-thinking leaders how to transform local, regional, or state economies and supercharge a community’s revitalization effort to attract jobs, investment, and residents.
Leyh said, “I want to talk to you about something we do not normally discuss. Jobs are usually looked at as the metric for success of economic development. Garner talks about all jobs are important but there is a difference between a primary job and a regular job.
On the Development Authority our focus is on primary jobs. Primary jobs are jobs that have significant economic impact on the area’s economy because the sales of goods or services is exported. This is really important when we start thinking about the industrial park. It is important to bring in money to this area that would not have normally existed. Think of a primary job as is it exporting dollars or just circulating money that is already here.
The quality of your leadership both private and public determine how successful you are going to be economically. They (potential companies) want certainty, simplicity and speed. It is important they we train our leaders, and it is important that they understand that this is a bit of recession. The leaders need to do what is best for the community without upsetting the community going forward.
The trademark saying for Garner is “No product, no project!” meaning you cannot sell from an empty wagon.” What Leyh is saying is that if you do not have the development ready for a company to move in then they go elsewhere. Tucker County has to be ready for this growth in order to succeed.
The next Tucker County Development Authority meeting will be held on August 18, 2022, at 6 p.m. located at the National Youth Science Foundation.