Staying on message

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM.

Even by the limbo standards of the Board of County Commissioners the most recent regular meeting was contortionism at its finest.

Within two hours, commissioners dismantled a consolidated Economic Development Council/Chamber of Commerce model they constructed 18 months ago, to considerable controversy, and sought to hire an outgoing commissioner to lobby for the county..

The message being sent is unknown, but there is a wish that commissioners had spent the following day attending a meeting of the Port Authority and the presentation from an economic development expert with credentials most could only dream of.

Jeff Holt, Managing Director for Infrastructure Banking with the Bank of Montreal might have provided the most clear-eyed and optimistic discussion about the potential at the Port of Port St. Joe that has been heard since the effort to re-engage the port began more than a decade ago.

For 35 years he has been an investment banker, worked on deals billions of dollars larger than anything likely coming to Gulf County and worked on economic development around the globe.

Holt said the development of the port would not happen overnight, but he had learned about patience, about staying the course.

He noted the importance of the St. Joe Company as a private sector partner and how that name provided import to any meeting, any inquiry.

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