Economic development on county's radar
by Kellen Moore
For the second time in as many months, Watauga County commissioners met Tuesday in closed session to discuss economic development matters.
While most of the board's meetings must be open to the public, the law allows commissioners to meet privately "to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses."
Those discussions can include conversations about economic development incentives that may be offered by the public body in negotiations, the statute says. But the action of approving a contract or paying economic development expenditures must be done in open session.
Several of those involved in the discussions are keeping quiet about the precise topic of conversation.
"We are working diligently to try to improve the economic situation of the county," Chairman Nathan Miller said.
Miller said that he is "not real big on incentives,"
mentioning the 2010 closure of a Dell computer plant in Winston-Salem after
only five years and massive local and state financial incentives.
He said he believes keeping taxes low, having a skilled workforce and improving transportation are among the best ways to entice businesses to locate in Watauga County.