By Tim Gardner
During a public hearing March 23, the Avery County Commissioners hired Capital Development Services of Winston-Salem, NC to perform fundraising training and related work for the County and its Cooperative Extension Service.
The Commissioners’ action was approved by a 4-1 vote.
Commissioners Martha Hicks (chairperson), Blake Vance (vice-chairman), Tim Phillips and Wood Hall (Woody) Young, Jr. voted to hire Capital Development Services. Commissioner Faye Lacey voted against.
The work provided by Capital Development Service will be for 15 days (equal to 120 hours) per month for eight months, ending September 30. A contracted fee will be paid by Avery County to Capital Development Services in monthly installments of:
$7,600.00 due March 2018 for February and March 2018
$3,800.00 per month in April, May, June, July and August
$1,900.00 for September.
The total of those costs are $28,500.
Avery County will be billed by Capital Development Services separately each month for intangible expenses such as travel, telephone, printing and other related costs.
The fundraising and other services provided to the County by Capital Development Services will be foremost used to raise funds to help build a new convention center at the agriculture service building area and to also develop other parts of its property for public use.
Hicks commented about hiring Capital Development Services: “We as Commissioners had set aside $30,000.00 in last year’s budget to use at the agriculture service building area to try to raise money for a convention-civic center to be added there and to further develop its land for horse, bicycle and hiking trails and related activities that can be used by children and adults. I think they (Capital Development Services) will be very helpful to the County as we work together to achieve these goals.”
Lacey said she voted against hiring Capital Development Services because “the county’s employees can fundraise on their own without a firm to train them to do so and the money could be better used for future needs.”
Five individuals attended the public hearing and spoke in favor of hiring Capital Development Services.
In a letter to the Commissioners, Ann Bennett-Phillips, Vice President of Capital Development Services, explained the services Capital Development will provide the County and the Co-Op Extension Service which include: 1) implementing the assessment recommendation and building the fundraising infrastructure; 2) Continued support, guidance and training of campaign leadership staff; 3) Continue Major Donor prospect identification, evaluation, assignment, cultivation and solicitation strategies; and 4) Over-all strategic guidance and direction.
Bennett-Phillips added: “Avery County’s prosperity depends on tourism, second-home construction and agriculture. The Avery County Cooperative Extension provides critical resources, research and programs that support these industries, their workers and their families. Avery County Cooperative Extension Service has been working with the Avery County Commissioners to fund and build a new office to replace its current facility, including a community/civic center. The purpose of the work of Capital Development Services is to embrace Avery County Cooperative Extension Service’s overall mission, facilities and programs.”