County to improve marketability

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 18, 2012
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Flagler County will begin negotiating a contract to beef up its economic development marketing efforts.

Flagler County-specific advertisements may soon be in the works, if county staff is successful in negotiating a contract with Orlando-based marketing firm Solodev.

At the request of Economic Opportunity Advisory Councilmen Jim Ulsamer and Frank Zedar, a request for proposals was advertised last month, with Solodev submitting the lowest contract offer.

“We have never done marketing in recent times for economic development,” County Commissioner Craig Coffey said. “This is the start of that. … They’ll market that we have no income tax, good schools, (etc.) … to show that this is great place to live, to lure business.”

Although all of the 10 firms to submit a bid surpassed the county’s allocated marketing budget, the Flagler County Board of County Commission agreed to allow negotiations to begin.

Out of a total $747,500 economic development budget, $50,000 was allocated last year for marketing.

“The (Tourist Development Council) has been working with this same company,” said County Commissioner Milissa Holland. Because of mixed experiences with the company, she suggested that staff include an “out” in its contract with Solodev.

County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Revels said that the contract should establish “strict timelines and demand performance.”

National business conference to settle down in Flagler?
In her first public presentation to the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners, Economic Opportunity Advisory Council Director Helga van Eckert announced Monday, July 16 , that one of the country’s three national site-selector’s conferences may make Flagler County its new home base.

The conference, which brings together business site-selectors from all over the world to drive economic development, first took place locally in May, at the Hammock Beach Resort. After formal presentations and networking were finished, van Eckert explained, the group visited the Golden Lion Café, for a “toes-in-the-sand” type of atmosphere — “because nothing sells this county like experiencing it.”

“The key really is,” she added, “developing partnerships,” which is one the five priorities outlined in the EOAC’s mission statement she helped develop when she started in Flagler, in March.

Following the conference’s success, van Eckert added, event organizers are now considering making Flagler County its annual location for the three-day convention.

Van Eckert will also begin issuing a quarterly economic development newsletter, along with rotating presentations to the county and municipalities, to highlight her organization’s progress and successes.

But County Administrator Craig Coffey acknowledged that, to most residents, results will always be the bottom line. “(Most of) it really doesn’t matter until you start to bring jobs,” he said.

— Email [email protected].


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