Alva Review-Courier -

Census 2020: Priority for Department of Commerce and Woods County


The Woods County Industrial Development Authority (WCIDA) met Tuesday morning, chaired by Rick Cunningham with members Stan Kline, Connor Martin, Richard Ryerson and Randy McMurphy present. They looked over and approved the financial report and when voting on the payment of outstanding bills, approved a $1,600 pledge transfer to the Woods County Economic Development Committee (WCEDC).

Next, the board discussed the Waynoka Incubator project. Sonja Williams, WCEDC executive director, said the tenants who have been paying rent for several months are now completely moved in and have changed over the utilities into their name.

Renewal of insurance with the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) was approved with Williams explaining a 4% increase in cost now raised the total to $2,979 – $116 more than last year. She said WCEDC had already reimbursed them for their portion of $1,500, leaving the industrial development authority left to pay the remaining $1,479 next month.

Reorganization of the Board

An update on members' terms was given by Williams. She said Cunningham (who currently serves as chair) faces term expiration in 2020, McMurphy (secretary/treasurer) in 2021, Kline 2022, Martin (vice-chairman) 2023 and Ryerson 2024. When voting on the election of officers, Kline said he liked the way things were set up and motioned for no change to be made. His motion carried.

WCEDC Update

In her report, Williams said she would be attending a public-private partnership (a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors) meeting at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) on Tuesday, June 18. The meeting, hosted by the NWOSU Division of Business, will be held to explore what kind of internships and projects in areas like marketing/marketing research, accounting, economic management, operation structures and financing they can assist with. “This is a good one for us to attend and see what we can utilize from the university,” she said.

A first annual Governors Economic Development Workforce Summit will be held in Edmond on Aug. 12-13, Williams told board members, and said she will be attending. She moved on to talk about the upcoming 2020 census and said census tracking has become a priority for the Department of Commerce.

“So many people in communities don't realize the impact that people not participating in the census has on our availability to go after funds,” she said, stressing its importance. “There's a big push from Commerce for us to be working with our communities in all aspects,” said Williams, asking members for assistance in educating others and encouraging census participation. “It's something very important that we need to be working on and we only have a short amount of time with no funding for it.”

Cunningham said that in the past, the City of Alva was looking at a grant and had to send out a census to a certain number of people and received virtually no response. Williams told the board that it may be a good time to see if this was something the university's business division could help with.


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