Wendell town commissioners agreed to delay, possibly until March, plans to hire an economic development director.
Commissioners wanted the position created in this year's budget and put the money in the spending plan to pay for a position for six months. The idea was to fill the position by January and, perhaps, fund the job for a full year beginning in July, 2009, which is the start of a new fiscal year.
But on Monday night, Commissioner Ronald Thompson convinced his fellow board members to hold off, citing concerns about whether the town could effectively mount any kind of economic development effort.
Town Manager David Bone reinforced Thompson's comments by pointing out that it would be difficult to hire anyone to work for six months, so as he stood before commissioners Monday night, Bone asked the board to consider extending the commitment into the first six months of the fiscal year (July-December, 2009).
Of course, that would cost more money, which raised questions on the part of Commissioner Sid Baynes, about town money held by the Wendell Chamber of Commerce for economic development efforts.
Town officials are still waiting for the chamber to return those funds, but Bone said that money was not extra money the town could put toward economic development efforts, a contention Baynes argued was incorrect.
So, when all the smoke cleared, commissioners asked Bone to report back in October about the status of funds available to promote economic development and they agreed not to hold Bone accountable for filling the position by January. At the meeting in October, commissioners will also decide whether to approve a request for bids, which is essentially a job description for an economic developer.