• 75°

Consultant to track economics

The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday to allocate $5,000 to hire a consultant who would survey economic development potential in the county.

Vivian Giles

County Administrator and Attorney Vivian Seay Giles, during the Tuesday meeting, said the $5,000 would be an amount payable to Mecklenburg County.

The consultant would come from Retail Strategies, a company that has partnered with the regional Virginia Growth Alliance (VGA).

VGA, based in Keysville, works to foster economic development in the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Prince Edward and the city of Emporia.

Giles and District Four Supervisor David Meinhard had seen a presentation from Retail Strategies in South Hill during a board of directors meeting held by VGA, which takes place every other month.

The Retail Strategies consultant, Giles said, would collect and compile marketing retail and demographic data for Cumberland that Giles said “would be critical to

David Meinhard

our economic development efforts.”

Giles noted the fee of $5,000 would take a significant portion of the county’s allocation for its economic development fund. The budgeted economic development fund totals $7,000.

Giles said the information would be worth the price and that the cost was within the county’s budget.

“For what we’re getting, it seems like a very low cost,” Giles said, noting that in larger counties, the cost can range between $30,000-$50,000.

Meinhard agreed that the consultation would be beneficial for Cumberland County.

“Based on the presentation I saw, I think it would be a good investment for Cumberland County. It would provide us with a whole lot of information,” Meinhard said. “If a company bids, expressing interest in coming to locate, and had questions to ask, this would be providing the answers that they would want.”

Giles said the survey could also pinpoint companies that the county could seek out for business.

The consultation cost was included in the board of supervisors’ consent agenda. The board, after discussing the consultation, voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda.

District One Supervisor William “Bill” Osl was absent from the meeting.