An overview and update on activities, both current and planned, by the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA) was given by executive director Dr. Mike Baughman at the County Commission meeting April 6.
LCRDA is a nine-member board, four appointed by Commissioners, four by the Caliente City Council and one at-large person appointed by the other eight members. Carl Pyatt is the current chairman. Dr. Adam Katschke is the representative from the Commission board.
The current adopted budget of the group for 2016 is $183,000 including $55,000 from the Governor’s office of Economic Development, and $10,000 from the County Commission, and $8,000 from USDA Regional Development Authority.
Methods by which LCRDA tries to promote Lincoln County involves email or direct mail marketing, print advertising, and trade shows, plus focusing on specific industries.
Baughman said the target industries they have looked at are mostly small manufacturing, primarily southern California based, such as plastics, metal fabrication, hunting and camping, and renewable energy like biomass and solar.
Since 2007, LCRDA has utilized four email/direct mail campaigns, which Baughman said has generated about 40 leads regarding small manufacturing and 18 leads relating to solar/wind power generation. Although, at present, none have located here.
Efforts to generate interest via print advertising in a specific trade magazine did not produce any leads, he said. “The urban areas seem to have more success than rural areas do with this type of advertising. We tried, but I don’t think it is something that works for us in Lincoln County.”
Trade shows that Baughman has attended on behalf of LCRDA have generated the most interest. He reported in the past five years, they got six leads at a Solar International Show in Dallas, Texas, five leads at the Pacific West Biomass Conference in San Francisco, eight leads at the International Biomass Conference in Orlando, Florida, and Baughman says he plans to attend the this year’s International Biomass Conference happening this week in Minneapolis and has appointments scheduled with at least five biomass companies.
Soventix is a German based solar energy company Baughman has been working with, and said the company “recently submitted a proposal with NV Energy for a 20 megawatt utility-scale solar project in the Rachel area that would tie into the existing substation at Tempiute, and we are also working with them right now looking for a possible second 20-megawatt site on which to make another proposal.”
A Spanish company Baughman said he has talked with is considering building an ethanol plant using biomass fuel to produce wood alcohol from Juniper trees.
Another aspect of LCRDA is their loan program helping various businesses around the county amounting to $78,500. As of March 2015, Baughman said they have received $51,847 in return payments.
Other initiatives LCRDA has on tap include the Lincoln County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy to help the county and the City of Caliente to maintain their status as a redevelopment area and continue receiving technical assistance in infrastructure grants from the Economic Development Administration.
Additional initiatives include the LCRDA website, Industrial Park Development in the Alamo Industrial Park and Meadow Valley Industrial, plus special projects like the Caliente Mountain Bike trail system and evaluating the interconnection costs to the existing Lincoln County Power District electrical substations.
Baughman also said, as a certified public developer, at his own expense, he does attend the International Economic Development Council Annual Conference meetings and continuing education courses.