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Jackson to downsize TDA board

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority Board will shrink from 15 members to nine following a unanimous vote from the Jackson County Commissioners Oct. 16.

“We simply are streamlining and making the TDA more compatible with other counties in North Carolina, and we think this will benefit the TDA and ultimately the county,” TDA board chairman Robert Jumper told commissioners.

The TDA has been discussing a reduced board size since 2014, not that long after its 2012 formation. The ordinance setting up the TDA outlined the specific business sectors and regions of the county that each member must come from, and finding people willing to fill all those positions has proven difficult.

Of 30 counties surveyed in a recent study the TDA commissioned, Jackson’s board is the largest, Director Nick Breedlove told commissioners during a Sept. 12 work session.

“It does make it a challenge for recruitment,” he said.

Five of the current board members will see their terms end in December, and there’s also one vacancy on the board that’s remained unfilled, Breedlove said. By letting the outgoing members rotate off without replacing them, the county can easily achieve the smaller board size.

Going forward, the board will include two representatives from lodging properties in northern Jackson County, two representatives from lodging properties in southern Jackson County, two representatives from lodging properties with at least 10 rooms, one tourism-related business representative, one representative from the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce and one representative from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Previously, the board had included 10 representatives from lodging properties, broken down by region of the county and type of property, and three members from retail, tourism-centric business, broken down by region of the county. Each chamber of commerce also had a representative.

During its early years, the TDA had no staff associated with it, the volunteer board members dividing all the work between them. However, Breedlove was hired as director in January 2016, taking on the bulk of that workload.

— By Holly Kays, staff writer

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