A 13-member committee appointed to identify county regulations that impede business growth and job creation held its organizational meeting Thursday night, hearing mostly pro-business comments in introductory remarks by the members in attendance.
The board agreed to post a web survey on the county's website soliciting comments from business owners who had problems with county regulations.
The only hint of dissension came when Renee Kumor, a former county commissioner and pro-growth management member, challenged chairman Bert Lemkes about whether the mission of the committee was predetermined. It is not, Lemkes said, but he brushed aside Kumor's suggestion that the committee should devote any time to exploring what the county is doing right in economic development.
"I'm not so much looking for what we're doing good," said Lemkes, the co-owner of the Van Wingerden International greenhouses in Mills River. "I don't think the county commissioners are looking for a pat on the back."
The commissioners created the Regulation Review Advisory Committee and gave it six months to identify regulations that block business growth or job creation. Made up of 12 men and one women, the committee has a cross section of members from larger industries, building and finance.
The members introduced themselves Thursday evening at the meeting at the Historic Courthouse. Members attending were:
Other board members are Jeffery Bowen, a computer company owner from Flat Rock; car dealer Jay Egolf; Ken Gordon, an executive with Norm's convenience stores; and Jeff Justus, a commercial real estate broker.
Lemkes, appointed chair by the Board of Commissioners, cautioned the board not to get sidetracked by regulations that the county can't control. "I think it needs to be made very clear that we're talking about county regulations, not city regulations or federal and state regulations," he said.
The committee agreed to invite organizations with economic development constituencies to make what Lemkes described as succinct 10-15-minute presentations. He mentioned the Partnership for Economic Development, the county Agribusiness development office; the Partnership for Economic Progress, a private pro-business group; and ECO, the Environmental Conservation Organization.
On Lemke's recommendation, the board agreed to meet every two weeks until it got its work done. The board elected Clarke vice chairman. Each board member was issued a thick binder containing county ordinances.