By mtjulietintern

One of the founding members of the Wilson County Joint Economic and Community Development Board officially resigned Tuesday after more than 25 years on the board.

Nelson Steed was among the original group of local community and business leaders that created the board in 1989 with a focus for economic and community development throughout Wilson County.

Steed informed the Wilson County JECDB executive committee earlier this month that he did not intend to seek re-election for the three positions he held – executive committee representative, board chairman and position No. 17 on the board.

“I’m going to the farm for good. I’ve been here, I don’t know – 26, 27 years – most of my life,” Steed said.

“I appreciate you for your service and starting this organization. You have laid a great foundation. I appreciate your leadership,” Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said.

G.C. Hixson, JECDB executive director, also praised Steed’s service in a letter to the “dedicated leader.”

“Your term and chairmanship of the board has provided leadership, structure, strength and, when always necessary, a true dose of common sense. For that, the community should and is forever appreciative. Your work has resulted in creation of jobs, growth in revenue and quality of life advances. Most importantly, however, you’ve changed the lives of individuals and their families,” Hixson said.

Hixson said Steed serviced the county not for his own personal reward, but for the love of Wilson County.

“I’ll still be around. I’m just going to sit on the front porch of my store in a rocking chair and watch them pick strawberries or whatever, but I’ll be around,” Steed said.

Don Chambers will fill Steed’s position on the executive committee, while Caleb Thorne will serve as board chairman and John Bryan will step into position No. 17 on the board.

The board also approved its 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, which takes effect June 1. The overall budget is about $16,000 more than the 2016-2017 budget.

The budget includes a 3 percent raise for staff, and JECDB treasurer Phil Smartt said the body looked at employee increases in Wilson County and cities before making a decision.

Smartt also said the increase includes an increase in rent that the group will incur when it moves its office to the future Lebanon Airport terminal building.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com