Wendell is drawing ever closer to hiring a professional economic developer.
In what has been a glacially slow process, commissioners gave Town Manager David Bone permission to seek a request for qualifications. That's government lingo for taking bids on the job. Instead of hiring an economic development director, Wendell is going to contract with a company to provide economic development services.
Exactly what those services will be remains to be seen. There is some disagreement even among commissioners about the proper role of an economic developer. Commissioner Ronald Thompson, long ago, staked out the high ground in opposition to hiring an economic development director of any kind, largely due to the souring economy.
Commissioner Sid Baynes wants an economic developer to think more in terms of residential development than most people would expect from a person in that company.
On Dec. 16 Bone held an informational meeting for companies who may be interested in doing the work for the town. According to Bone, representatives from five companies attended the meeting and five other companies have expressed interest but could not attend last week's meeting.
Whoever is interested in the work has until Jan. 8, 2009, to submit their proposal. Bone will review them and the finalists will have an opportunity to make presentations to town commissioners Jan. 24, 2009.