City of Greensboro graphic (don't use)

GREENSBORO — The city has its list of concerns.

No plans.

No approach.

No results.

For the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance, that could eventually lead to dwindling support.

“Are we getting the bang for our buck?” City Councilman Zack Matheny asked.

Some city leaders want a new plan to attract more business to Greensboro.

The private, nonprofit alliance says it has one.

Today, both sides will hash it out.

• • •

Whether conversation or confrontation, this meeting has been building for a long time.

Elected officials have come and gone, but the question remains: Should tax money go to a private group to recruit jobs?

That answer has consistently been “yes.”

Now, it’s not that simple.

This year, Guilford County allocated $200,000 and Greensboro $130,000 to help fund the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance.

With new Mayor Nancy Vaughan and a new City Council, Greensboro believes it’s time to take a hard look at whether it should take a bigger role in economic development.

“I don’t think there’s a huge divide,” said Jim Phillips, chairman of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance. “We’ve just got to find a way to get the right results.”

• • 

The alliance and its president, Dan Lynch, are in charge of attracting new companies and helping others expand with the sole purpose of adding jobs and investment to the tax base.

Lynch said he has nothing to apologize about.

“People have different views of what a home run is,” he said.

Lynch said he and the group, which is a part of the larger Greensboro Partnership, have been leaders in recruiting Honda Aircraft Co., the FedEx Ground hub in western Guilford and a $100 million expansion of Procter & Gamble’s factory last year.

He cited top-10 rankings the past three years in the national Site Selection magazine that show the metro is consistently attracting big corporate investments.

But city officials aren’t as easily convinced.

Lynch travels to the international air show in Paris every year, meeting with prospects day and night.

Phillips said he and the group’s board have also sent Lynch on missions targeting companies in industries such as advanced manufacturing and logistics.

But Matheny doesn’t want sales calls, he wants results.

He has some tough questions for Lynch, Phillips and other leaders: “How much money have we spent? Who has he met with and why haven’t we landed anybody?”

• • •

Matheny has developed an elaborate economic development plan that he will present at the beginning of the 4:30 p.m. meeting, which is being held in an unusual spot: the board room at the law offices of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard, where Phillips practices law.

In great detail, Matheny’s plan focuses on creating shovel-ready development sites, incentives for development in east Greensboro and such major deals as the proposed Project Haystack data center park.

Matheny said he believes Lynch is not “proactive,” adding he hasn’t been aggressive in using the $10 million economic development bond fund the city has on hand for a variety of projects.

“I’m pulling for Dan,” Matheny said. “We have got to right this ship. There are some people in this community that are becoming more vocal and showing frustration.”

Contact Richard M. Barron at 373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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