Berryville council approves consulting contract

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

The Berryville City Council voted Tuesday, Aug. 18, to authorize Mayor Tim McKinney to enter a contract with Kelley Commercial Partners Inc. to provide consulting services to the city.

The city’s economic development director, Chris Claybaker, was at the meeting to discuss the contract.

“What we’re talking about is moving toward retail more than anything else,” Claybaker said. “My recommendation... is that we try to go into this as a one-year contract, as a maximum of $1,000 a month.”

He said that if the Kelley firm sells property, commission will be added to the consulting costs.

“We had the opportunity to do a study with the Rockefeller Foundation,” Claybaker said. “They came and did a retail study for us.”

He said the study helps cities determine what businesses would be good for them to bring in.

“The problem is, you can know exactly with companies to go and look for, but I don’t have the tools to actually get in those front doors,” Claybaker said.

McKinney said that anything the company does has to be approved by the city council.

“Economic development has to do with who you know, what doors to knock on,” McKinney said. “I think if we’re going to get serious about industrial development and growing the city, we’re going to have to spend a little money.”

Rodney Ballance of Berryville Broadband was at the meeting to give an update on his company’s services.

Ballance said the business launched on June 1.

“Because of the demand for virtual schooling these days, we have designed a specific plan to meet the needs during this crisis for folks who live in rural areas to be able to have an internet package with fast downloading and uploading so that there’s no lagging,” Ballance said.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at the Berryville Community Center.

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