By Stan Welch
As part of the County’s ongoing efforts to attract economic development and jobs to Anderson County, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been crafted which reaffirms and redefines the relationship between the County’s Economic Development Office (EDO) and Innovate Anderson.
The Anderson County Council and the Board of Innovate Anderson have both approved the MOU, and the Chairmen of the two organizations, Tommy Dunn and Butch Hughes, respectively, have signed the document.
Innovate Anderson (IA) is the private/public partnership designed to attract investment and jobs to the County. The efforts of the two entities have sometimes suffered from the various responsibilities being ill-defined and uncertain. Partly as a result of that, the Anderson County Council voted last year to defund Innovate Anderson. The MOU clearly establishes authority and responsibility for various aspects of the partnership.
It also reestablished funding for IA, though at a level of $40,000 a year instead of $50,000. It does, however, restore $20,000 in funding that IA lost last year when the decision to defund was made.
Under the MOU, staff members of the Innovate Anderson group would actually be integrated into the EDO staff, serving as project management for specific assigned projects. The EDO, however, will remain as the oversight organization, maintaining contact and communication with the appropriate state agencies, such as the Department of Commerce.
The IA will also focus on creating access to private funding source, and will focus its efforts on job creation within the County. At least one member of the County Council will sit on the executive committee of IA, an access that was lacking previously and contributed to the Council decision to defund the group last year.
County Administrator Rusty Burns said that “The MOU insures not only that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing, but that the two groups will go down the road holding hands.”