Daleville will return as a member of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation after being absent for seven years.
The Daleville City Council voted to enter into a contract with Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation during its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 2.
Council members Scott Moore, Bobby Hardrick and Jo Reese approved the action. Council members Alan Souders and Katheryne Horace were absent from the meeting.
The City of Daleville originally joined the Enterprise, Coffee, Geneva Economic Development Corporation in June 2001. This organization later changed its name to the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation.
During the July 1 meeting, council member Katheryne Horace said the city later “decided to try a different group,” referring to the Ozark-Dale County Economic Corporation (ODEC).
In December 2012 with a 3-2 vote, the council voted to join ODEC after rejecting a motion to renew a contract with WEDC.
The city stayed with ODEC until the city’s Planning Commission recommended to the city council following a January 2017 meeting to end its contract with the organization. The council accepted the recommendation, officially voting on the item of business during a February 2017 meeting.
During the council’s July 1 work session, Mayor Jayme Stayton presented the contract to the council, stating the cost to join the organization would be the same as when the city was a member previously.
“I have a contract here, the same contract that we had signed in the past with a price of what it costs,” he said. “Typically, what we did in the past was $11,632 a year. This was made quarterly with payments of $2,908.”
Stayton said he will continue to try to reach out to businesses and other companies on behalf of Daleville, but WEDC would have more contacts to better help the city.
“I’m still going to continue to do what I do and reach out to retail and do what I’ve been doing, but I don’t have the connections, I don’t know the people they do for industry and stuff like that,” he said. “I think, like you all do, I think it’s about time that we join them because it would be… joining them would be more beneficial to the city.”
After the meeting, Stayton spoke with the Daleville Sun-Courier about current economic development efforts for the city.
“When I became mayor, that first day, I went through the computer and started making a list of different enterprises and different fast food chains and started reaching out to them,” he said. “I did that for two years straight, every two months. Even if they said no, I would call them back.”
He said these actions have led to the commitment of two major franchises to come to Daleville.
“As I worked on that, I also tried to bring some jobs back here, like with Tri-Glass, or some kind of industry that our people could go to work,” he said. “We’ve reached out to people, even made calls to Korea, Germany, but I realized even if I can do economic development on a small scale, I can’t do it on a big scale. I don’t have the contacts. I don’t have the numbers; I can’t go to places that people who do that 24-7 can go because not only am I working on economic development, but I’m working on other stuff to do with the city.”
Stayton said after the meeting that he felt the city would benefit from a working relationship with WEDC after meeting with Executive Director Jonathan Tullos.
“This is a place where Daleville can grow,” he said. “They have the connections needed to bring the industry and possibly other kind of retail here.”
He thanked City Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Stripling for his assistance while the city has not been affiliated with an economic development organization. Stripling has presented the council with opportunities to advertise land to industry and other economic development actions.
“I think it’s the best thing for Daleville to join,” Stayton said. “We’ll continue working, and I’ll continue working. Just because we joined the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. I have my list, and I’m still going to continue to reach out the people I’ve reached out to.”
The contract with WEDC, though approved, will not go into effect until Oct. 1, so the city can budget in the membership cost for the organization.
The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 16, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.