PACIFIC COUNTY - Anticipation was high last Tuesday as Pacific County residents awaited the results of who would take over County Commissioner Clay Harwood's seat in 2011.
In fact, candidate Lisa Ayers says she was in the election room at the courthouse anxiously awaiting the 8 p.m. election results report on Nov. 2.
As of Nov. 5, 76 percent of the county's ballots were returned and the majority elected Lisa Ayers with almost 59 percent support. Her challenger, Cathy Russ, claimed 41 percent of the votes.
"I was surprised at the percentages, I was excited, and I was humbled," Ayers remembers. "I am honored to have the trust of the majority of the Pacific County voters."
Ayers says she plans to finish the year as the county's management and fiscal analyst. She will be sworn in as county commissioner in mid- to late December and officially become the District 3 commissioner on Jan. 1.
"Although there are a number of pending issues that must be addressed, I am most looking forward to getting out into the communities and helping interested residents to identify specific needs and assisting them to plan for their future."
Cathy Russ says she looks forward to continuing her position as the executive director of the Pacific County Economic Development Council - and she certainly has her work cut out for her.
"I am happy to say the board, since I became the director, provides input annually for strategic planning to keep moving the PCEDC forward," she explains. "Over the past several years, the PCEDC has conducted two very important surveys. The first was the Industrial Needs Analysis. This study analyzed industrial trends within Pacific County through 2028 to anticipate the land required to sustain economic development and accommodate future job growth. The second was the Economic Opportunity Study. This study is just being completed. The purpose was to review past studies and to incorporate into one document and to prioritize industries suitable for our lands and industrial economic base and to develop a target recruitment strategy.
"With the funding received for the Economic Opportunity Study, the PCEDC developed and implemented a marketing plan for Pacific County. So far the PCEDC has placed an ad in the Trade & Industry Development Magazine May/June issue and in the online Economic Development Directory. Through these ad placements we have seen a steady increase in website traffic with hits from as far as France and Belgium."
She adds, "To continue addressing expansion or recruitment, I wrote and submitted to the Pacific Council of Governments an application for the 0.09 percent Local Sales Tax Fund Allocations in June 2010 for a Commercial/Service Economic Opportunity Study. The PCEDC received notice of the award. This study will engage the four incorporated cities into conversation to determine commercial/service gaps they see in their communities, leakage that is occurring, and identify potential growth."