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SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT, INC. BOARD MEETING MINUTES October 14, 2021

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A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc. (SEAEDD) was held on October 14, 2021, at the Dumas Community Center. Judge Mack Ball, Board President, called the meeting to order. Judge Ball called on Judge Richard Tindall and Mayor Flora Simon for a welcome to the area. Judge Ball called on Ms. Kathrine Andrews, the Director of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Division, to introduce herself to the Board. Judge Ball asked if there were any corrections or additions to the Minutes of the August 12, 2021, meeting, as presented. There being none, Mr. Sam Angel made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. Seconded by Judge Jim Hudson. Motion carried. Judge Ball referred to the Financial Statements in the Board folders. Mr. Sam Angel made a motion to approve the financial statements. Seconded by Mayor Tomeka Butler. Motion carried. Judge Ball called on Ms. Patrecia Hargrove for staff reports. Ms. Hargrove called on Mayor Crystal Marshall. Mayor Marshall stated that the City of Crossett was awarded 1.4 million grant dollars from EDA. She stated that her staff and SEAEDD worked very diligently for this grant, and they are excited to get started. Ms. Hargrove referred to the draft of the SEAEDD Parental Leave Policy included in the board folders. Mrs. Nita McDaniel made a motion to table this policy until they hear back from the attorneys who are writing it. Seconded by Judge Jim Hudson. Motion carried. Ms. Hargrove referred to the email from the SEAEDD Building Architect, Ms. Laura Stanley, included in the board folders. She stated that the loan officer understands the delay due to material cost and shipping issues and understands the new proposed schedule from the project’s architect, Ms. Laura Stanley. She stated that Ms. Stanley suggested we wait until the beginning of the year to review costs and shipping delays to determine how to proceed with construction procurement. She also stated that we have 5 years to spend the EDA funds. Ms. Hargrove gave an update on the Department of Labor (DOL) Waiver Request. She stated that the documentation that the CEO’s submitted were given to the State and the State has submitted them to DOL. She stated that we are awaiting a decision. Ms. Hargrove referred to the Activity Report in the board folders. She stated that there are several virtual workshops that are free to our region regarding pandemic recovery. She directed the Board to the website to sign up for the free workshops.

Ms. Hargrove stated that DRA still doesn’t have a federal co-chair. She stated that means the applications that we submitted months ago are still there. She urged the Board to each contact their Federal Legislative Delegation and ask them to appoint someone to DRA. Ms. Hargrove referred to the 2020 census information in the board folders. She stated that the updated LMI numbers will be published next spring. Ms. Hargrove called on Mr. Deran Ford, Director of Workforce Services. Mr. Ford stated that he has been working at the SEAEDD office since September 20, 2021, as the new Director of Workforce Services which was previously held by Mr. Eddie Thomas. Mr. Ford congratulated Ms. Chaketa Alexander, WIOA Program Compliance Officer, for completing the 9-month Leadership Pine Bluff class. He also stated that staff has hired 2 more Career Advisors for the Workforce Centers; one in the Pine Bluff location and one in the Dumas location. Mr. Deran Ford called on Mr. Gary Goggans, WIOA Regional Manager, for the WIOA Report. Mr. Goggans stated that staff met with representatives of Pactiv Evergreen and the State of Arkansas Dislocated Worker Task Force to discuss future plans to hold a Dislocated Worker Workshop. He also stated that staff has been attending career fairs recruiting new participants. Ms. Hargrove called on Mr. Patrick Ervin for the Business Services report. Mr. Ervin stated that outreach, document processing and technical assistance continues for Business Services in the SAVE Revolving Loan Program. He stated that applications have been initiated for a Lawn Care Service in Crossett, a non-profit in Reed, and a Daycare facility in Lake Village. He stated that recruitment has begun for a pre-apprenticeship program at A Plus Apparel in Star City for entry level positions throughout the facility, and this training will be conducted by ACEF, and it will be four cohorts of five trainees each. He stated that Business Services along with Compliance provided a technical assistance for training providers on September 13, 2021, regarding the tracking of students in WIOA programs. He stated that the technical assistance involved the premise for tracking from a federal perspective and a request from the Workforce Board’s Planning Committee to help evaluate their effectiveness. He stated that Business Services along with key staff from SEAEDD provided information to our federal project office in Dallas on September 1, 2021, regarding responses to COVID, projections on how we would spend influxes of new federal dollars, and our collateral materials from our services such as videos, flyers, and other tangible evidence to support the data that was provided. Ms. Hargrove called on Ms. Karen Barlow for a Grants report. Ms. Barlow stated that she is contracted to assist SEAEDD with grant applications. She stated that since the last board meeting, they’ve had 5 applications submitted; the Cities of Dermott, McGehee and Wilmot have submitted General Assistance Water/Wastewater Applications to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. Ms. Hargrove called on Mr. Rickey Works for a Grants report. Mr. Works stated that since the last board meeting the grants staff conducted in Bradley, Chicot, Drew, and Desha Counties for the Hospital COVID Grant. He stated that all drawdowns for supplies and admin have been submitted to AEDC. He stated that the money has been paid out and the grants are now in the closeout process. He also stated that on September 27, 2021, five Parks Grants were submitted. He stated that Dumas and Hamburg have been selected to attend the grant hearings on October 28th for the Parks Matching grant, and Arkansas City was selected to attend on October 29 for the Fun Parks. He stated that the Hearings will be held at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Ms. Hargrove called on Mr. Knight to give an update on Solid Waste, the Railroad rehab project, and ARPA. Mr. Knight stated that Recycling money is available and if anyone needs help to please call him. He stated that the Tire facility is running at 100%, and since there is nothing on the agenda for Solid Waste that is the reason that Board is not meeting today. He stated that the materials for the railroad rehab project have been delivered to the rehab site. He stated that he is in negotiations to partner with Lake Providence Port. Judge Jim Hudson made a motion to allow SEAEDD to apply for matching EDA funds for Lake Providence Port. Seconded by Mr. Jeff Westbrook. Motion carried. Mr. Knight referred to the COVID Recovery Fund form included in the board folders. He stated that this deals with ARPA. He presented the prices and policy for SEAEDD to administer assistance with these projects. Mr. Sam Angel made a motion to accept the policy. Seconded by Judge Jim Hudson. Motion carried. Mr. Knight stated that on October 18, 2021, he will be at the Bradley County Quorum Court at 6:00pm to give a presentation on their Solid Waste operations. Judge Mack Ball stated that the Executive & Finance Committees will meet on November 30, 2021, in Pine Bluff. Judge Ball referred to the Unemployment Statistics, included in the Board folders. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on December 9, 2021, at the Arkansas River Co-op in Pine Bluff. There being no other business, Mayor Denisa Pennington made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Judge Eddie Best. Motion carried, and the meeting was adjourned.

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