The Harlan County Economic Development Authority met for the first time on Monday to determine the direction the board will take and elect officers.
To begin the inaugural meeting, all the board members provided a brief introduction to the public and each other, as well as a short explanation of their personal goals for the EDA.
The next item on the agenda was to elect officers. Pete Cornett was elected chairman, Will Clem was elected vice-chair and Mike Coldiron became the secretary/treasurer.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley expressed his excitement with the EDA’s first meeting and welcomed all the members of the board before introducing Tad Long. Long is with the Kentucky League of Cities and he developed a strategic plan for the development of Harlan County’s economy. He walked the EDA members through this plan during the meeting.
First he mentioned a website called Statebook. Statebook is similar to the website Facebook, but it’s for properties and buildings. The EDA was tasked with coming up with a profile of every property owned by the county, so Long could upload those properties on Statebook. Others who subscribe to the site can filter through the properties and find a property that fits their needs. According to Long, by putting the county’s properties on Statebook it will facilitate the EDA’s goals by allowing businesses to view the properties online and make their decision as to whether they want to set up shop in Harlan or not. He said “People aren’t looking for a reason to buy properties; they’re looking for a reason to discard a property on their list. If we don’t give them any reason not to buy a property, then they’ll be that much more likely to bring their business here.”
The first goal for the EDA was to develop local incentive packages for prospective businesses to look at. The packages will detail the positive aspects of setting up shop here in Harlan such as the labor force and special training offered to unemployed coal miners. Other incentives included low costs and taxes for operations.
The Harlan County Fiscal Court created the EDA to go after businesses that don’t fit the criteria of the businesses the Industrial Development Authority goes after. The IDA is organized to strictly go after industrial jobs like manufacturing, while the EDA isn’t limited in the types of businesses it can recruit. The EDA can go after technology based companies along with other businesses that focus on things like tourism in the area. Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley said, “It’s time we came up with something that will have a lasting effect on this area.”
Reach Bradley at 606-909-4146 or on Twitter @bradley_HDE