110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
County Council commits to another three years with Team Volusia
By Pat Andrews
posted Aug 20, 2012 - 5:03:56pm
Things are looking rosier for Volusia County's economy, according to speakers at the Aug. 9 County Council meeting.
First, new Volusia County Economic Development Manager Rob Ehrhardt told council members Volusia County is "just coming out of a pretty severe recession."
Then, Team Volusia interim President Kerry Symolon said the private-public economic-development agency she heads has 18 active prospects for new businesses in Volusia County, with the potential for 1,104 new jobs.
Council members also heard that unemployment, while still at 8.8 percent for the second quarter of 2012, is down from last year's 10.7 percent.
In DeLand, unemployment was 9.4 percent during the second quarter this year, compared to 10.9 percent in 2011. In Deltona, unemployment was at 9.3 percent for the second quarter of 2012, compared to 11.5 percent for the same period last year.
There's another good sign, Ehrhardt said. Building permits for new construction are up. There have been 176 permits pulled for $49 million worth of construction this year, versus 111 permits worth $31 million during the same period in 2011.
There's been "a sustained improvement" during the last three quarters, he said.
The sticking point? Foreclosures are up a bit; however, Erhardt said he's encouraged there are fewer than in 2012's first quarter.
Erhardt said the Clerk of Court reported close to 1,110 foreclosures during the second quarter this year, compared to around 800 during the second quarter of 2011.
According to Realty Trace, one in every 346 housing units in Volusia County was the subject of a foreclosure filing in July.
As usual, Deltona was the leader, with just fewer than 500 foreclosures recorded during June, July and August, and around 1,800 filed during the past year.
According to the 2010 census, Volusia County is home to more than 13,000 businesses, and they are the backbone of the economy here, as well as across the country.
County Manager Jim Dinneen said encouraging those businesses to stay and to expand gives "the biggest return on the buck" in economic development.
Team Volusia Chairman Daryl Tol was unable to attend the County Council meeting. He sent a video message.
Tol said eight candidates have been interviewed to replace Team Volusia President Helen Cauthen, who resigned in January.
The name of the new president should be announced soon, he said.
Interim President Kerry Symolon picked up the presentation. In addition to announcing the 18 business prospects, she said Team Volusia has a $700,000 cash balance.
Dinneen said the $250,000 the county invested in Team Volusia each year for the first three years was "a good investment … We're working as a team," he said.
Dinneen suggested schools and Team Volusia work together to provide trained workers for high-tech, high-quality jobs.
He also suggested a show of support for Team Volusia, "a signal of support to the community that we're in it for a few more years."
County Chair Frank Bruno agreed, offering thanks to County Council Member Pat Northey for working to build Team Volusia.
Northey said she agreed the county should send a clear signal about continuing the private-public partnership. "There are some rumblings in my corner of the county about withdrawing," Northey said. She represents Southwest Volusia District 5 on the County Council.
The County Council's consensus was to commit to funding the agency for another three years.
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