Business

Union County suspends membership in Charlotte economic development group

In October, Ronnie Bryant, President and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, speaks to a group gathered at UNCC Center City to help brainstorm how to pitch the city to Amazon in hopes of getting the company to put its second headquarters here.
In October, Ronnie Bryant, President and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, speaks to a group gathered at UNCC Center City to help brainstorm how to pitch the city to Amazon in hopes of getting the company to put its second headquarters here. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Union County board of commissioners voted last week to suspend the county’s membership in the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a financial blow to the economic development group that recruits new jobs to the Charlotte area.

The unanimous vote followed a recommendation in January by the Monroe-Union County Economic Development Board of Advisors to make the move. The decision allows staff to “move forward with the value analysis and suspends any further payments to the Charlotte Regional Partnership,” said Chris Platé, executive director for Monroe-Union County Economic Development.

Union County’s $67,000 membership is the second largest public-sector investment behind Mecklenburg and represents about 24 percent of Union County’s economic development budget, Platé said.

“At this level of contribution, Union County must seek out the best options for these tax dollars,” he said. “County leadership and the economic development staff expect to meet again with the CRP leadership as we go through this examination of our options for marketing and lead generation services.”

Platé said there has been no timetable to finalize any decision on retaining or withdrawing its membership in the partnership, which had represented a total of 16 counties in North and South Carolina.

Dianne Chase, a spokeswoman for the partnership, said the group is looking forward to meeting with Union County officials and is “very optimistic that any questions or concerns can be addressed and resolved.”

The Union County move comes just weeks after Charlotte failed to make the cut to be considered for Amazon.com’s much-coveted second headquarters. The partnership coordinated the region’s bid for HQ2.

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker

  Comments