County seeking answers from development commission

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, July 4, 2007

By Staff
Seeks money, ‘strategic plan’
News Editor
Beaufort County commissioners are asking a once-troubled, regional economic-development group to explain what it intends to do for the area and show where its money is going.
They want the Northeastern North Carolina Regional Development Commission to “present a strategic plan” for Beaufort County and give an accounting of $213,000 they say is the county’s share of a funding pie. The nonprofit organization, which was formerly the Northeast Partnership, made both name and personnel changes after a state audit last year found the group had mishandled millions of dollars. Commissioners want Vann Rogerson, who leads the revamped 16-county organization, to appear before them in an open meeting. They passed a motion to that effect Monday night.
In April, commissioners sent a proposal to the group, asking it help the county finance “industry ready” buildings. The idea behind that proposal is that if the group finances the buildings, it will also help market them, drawing industry to Beaufort County. In turn, any profits from sold buildings would first be directed to the regional group to repay its investment.
Commissioners’ Chairman Jay McRoy said the latest budget figures show the organization has a $1.8 million annual budget. It funds projects in the state’s northeastern counties, with each getting a share based on its population. Beaufort County’s allotment, he said, is $213,000.
Klemm called for Rogerson to present a plan “with goals, objectives and strategies,” and then he reminded commissioners of the former Northeast Partnership’s audit.
The organization’s mission is to increase the standard of living in the northeast section of the state, according to a previous statement from the group. The organization serves all counties — Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington — in the Daily News coverage area.