Strategic plan consultant offers EDP ‘additional services’

Published 7:03 am Friday, September 22, 2017

The consulting company that helped build Boyle County’s new strategic economic development plan has proposed that officials hire it again for additional services.

Kyle Talente with RKG Associates provided a list of potential additional services it could provide for the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership in July, EDP Chair Ben Nelson said Tuesday.

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“Shame on me — I’ve been sitting on it because to me, those kind of investment decisions will need to be made by the new board,” Nelson told members of the EDP board.

The EDP voted on Tuesday to adopt new bylaws that do away with the board as it existed and create a new board that will meet for the first time in October. The restructuring of the EDP is a major recommendation that came out of the strategic plan RKG helped develop.

The “proposed scope tasks” listed on the “additional services contract #2” include:

• “moderate an EDP leadership retreat;”

• “build advocates and ambassadors for the EDP;”

• “engage education leaders;”

• “build roundtables and host first meeting;”

• “build pro forma analysis of potential shell building;”

• “property analysis and owner outreach;” and

• “feasibility for sports complex.”

The document does not specify how much the different services would cost.

Nelson said the additional services would be ways that RKG could help “fast-track the strategic plan implementation.”

Kathy Miles, an at-large member of the old EDP board, said she has concerns about the idea.

“Some of these things to me, they look like what the local board and local staff need to be doing,” Miles said. “I have questions about an outside consultant doing several of these things.”

“My other concern is I think the new board needs to be careful about spending extra money after the work that’s been done to get the community on-board with the new plan,” Miles continued. “I think this would concern some local citizens and I can understand that. There’s several things in here that I do not think you bring an outside source in on.”

Nelson said he didn’t ask for prices on the different services specifically because of the concerns Miles raised.

“When I saw what he put together, my chair instinct was I’m going to defer this to a later day,” Nelson said.

“Notwithstanding price, I do like the first proposed task being moderate a retreat, specifically as it relates to ‘how do we measure our effectiveness?’” Danville Mayor Mike Perros said. “I think for us to do that is a little bit like grading yourself. Like him or not, he does have a national perspective … We always have to look and say ‘are we playing up to not just our potential, but our level?’ Because it is a global world out there.”

Tom Poland, EDP treasurer, said he’s glad to have the proposal from RKG.

“No one knows this community better than Kyle,” Poland said. “And (he did) great work on the strategic plan. It’s kind of nice that the whole board — giving this information opportunity out there. But you’re right — it’s up to the new board.”

Members of the EDP paid almost $84,000 to RKG for what wound up being an approximately nine-month process of developing the strategic plan, which was accepted in late June. EDP partners committed up to $100,000 to spend on the study — $65,000 from the City of Danville; $10,000 from the Boyle County Fiscal Court; and $5,000 apiece from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, Heart of Danville, Boyle County Industrial Foundation and the EDP itself.

RKG has since been retained again by the Convention and Visitors Bureau to conduct a $15,000 study on whether a boutique hotel would be feasible in downtown Danville.