By Eugenia Jones
The McCreary County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) met in their regular June meeting to receive updates and act on one item of old business.
Deputy Judge and Economic Development Director Nathan Nevels reviewed repairs in process by Gary Clark Construction on the Spec Building in Pine Knot. Clark will be repairing the roof, fixing leaks, repairing guttering, installing moisture resistant drywall, installing new 15,000 lumen LED lighting in the bay area and LED lighting in the office, and installing moisture barrier in the floor.
Since there has been little interest expressed in leasing the building and with the state updating their marketing materials, Economic Development Director Nevels suggested the possibility of reducing the listed asking lease price for the building and increasing the amount of land offered with the building. The McCreary County IDA agreed and voted to lower the lease price from $1.50 per square foot to $1.00 per square foot and to increase the acreage from approximately four acres to eight.
The Board also received an update on the Teleworks proposal. Teleworks USA is a company that provides expert-led, accelerated, remote-work preparatory workshops and job-placement/career- coaching services in Southeastern Kentucky. During an IDA meeting earlier this year, Teleworks “pitched” their interest in establishing one of their hubs in McCreary County. In order to establish a Teleworks Hub, counties entering into agreements with Teleworks assume certain responsibilities including provision of technology and equipment needed for the hubs to operate, provision of salaries for local Hub managers, and annual payments of $77,000 licensing fees (two years required) covering the cost of curriculum, training of managers, job fairs, marketing, and advertising. Currently, Teleworks has nine Hubs serving twenty-three counties across Eastern Kentucky, some of which have been in operation since 2015.
Although members of the McCreary County IDA initially expressed interest in the Teleworks proposal, they were concerned about paying the $77,000 annual fee to the company. Economic Development Director Nevels had been asked to follow up with the company to see if there could be a reduction in cost. During his update this month, Director Nevels said Teleworks did not agree to reduce the amount of their annual fee and only revised their proposed budget for implementation of a hub to reflect a reduction in the salary of a local manager. Director Nevels said he will try to schedule a visit to one of the company’s locations for himself and other interested board members and will once again try to get the company to lower their annual fee.
In old business, the IDA approved a recalculation from $15,000 to $19,756 to fund their share of the Economic Development Director’s salary for the upcoming fiscal year. The amount includes $15,000 salary plus the required addition of Employer payroll taxes and the County’s contribution to the pension plan for County employees.