Regional development group

Called the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership in the documents and public meetings in which it has been discussed, the new group’s founders envision it as a partnership of the public governing bodies in Washington, Unicoi and Carter counties and the private businesses within their borders.

“Through the memberships of private sector businesses, organizations and individuals in large numbers, including governmental units, who will contribute their financial resources, expertise and acumen, an improved enduring and broad-based business climate will result, ” the bylaws state.

Like the Washington Economic Development Council, from which the regional corporation evolved, membership in the organization and its board of directors will be granted based on annual financial contributions.

The bylaws, which current WCEDC executive Mitch Miller cautioned were still preliminary, set up four tiered membership levels to the group, each attained by different amounts of contribution set by the board of directors.

The first and highest level, founding members, will be open to the governmental bodies of the three counties forming the group and the bodies of incorporated towns and cities within them.

Miller told Press staff writer Sue Legg the annual dues for the public members was based on population. According to him, Johnson City and Washington County will each contribute $175, 000; Jonesborough will pay $7, 000: Unicoi County, Erwin and the Town of Unicoi will jointly offer $50, 000; and Carter County will add $40, 000. Elizabethton has yet to officially join the group, but Miller told Carter County Commissioners in June he expects the city to pay $35, 000.

Through the public financing, private membership dues and fundraising, the new group hopes to raise $5.5 million for five years of operations.

Founding members and the next two membership levels, charter members and sustaining members, will have the right to be on the organization’s board of directors, which will manage the partnership’s operations, including electing officers to the board and its Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will have the power to select the partnership’s CEO, subject to the approval of the rest of the partnership.

In previous WCEDC meetings, members said the Development Council’s existing staff, including Miller and the directors working under him, will be transferred to similar positions in the partnership.

The preliminary bylaws set up required annual meetings for the full partnership and its board of directors, and provide for special meetings held at any place and time.

Source: www.johnsoncitypress.com