Brown briefs county on strate­gic plan process

Maryland Independent - - News - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Charles County has been one of the ar­eas of em­pha­sis for the county govern­ment over the last few years, and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Dar­rell Brown is aim­ing to keep in that way.

Dur­ing an April 19 Charles County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing, Brown up­dated the com­mis­sion­ers on where the county is with its strate­gic eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plan and took a look at data re­trieved from in­di­vid­ual busi­ness round­table events.

Based on data re­trieved from the Feb. 24 meet­ing ear­lier this year, the strate­gic plan, the county’s in­fra­struc­ture, and the county’s per­mit­ting process are rec­om­mended items for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the next meet­ing.

Busi­ness own­ers are look­ing for “ac­tion” on the strate­gic plan, Brown said, and want to be kept up­dated and in­formed.

“We have re­ceived the five year strate­gic plan and we are cur­rently re­view­ing the plan,” Brown said.

In or­der to move the county for­ward eco­nom­i­cally, Brown said, the depart­ment will need the help of the board of com­mis­sion­ers and col­lab­o­ra­tion will be nec­es­sary.

Brown said the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment depart­ment has sched­uled meet­ings with all five county com­mis­sion­ers to re­view the strate­gic plan af­ter the depart­ment is fin­ished tak­ing its first look at it.

County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D) rec­om­mended that, be­fore the next busi­ness round­table, to give a pre­view of the dis­cus­sion, Brown could have the county govern­ment write a col­umn in the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent’s lo­cal govern­ment sec­tion.

“It may be some­thing, as you go through this, and you want to let them know you’re try­ing all sorts of ways to get this to the public,” Mur­phy said. “Hope­fully that sup­ports you a lit­tle bit on that.”

The col­umn could po­ten­tially help, Brown said, and it could also be a po­ten­tial topic at the next busi­ness round­table. On May 24, there will be a brief­ing on the strate­gic plan and the very next day on May 25 the depart­ment will host another busi­ness round­table where the public will be briefed on it.

Af­ter ev­ery­one has been briefed on the strate­gic plan, the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment depart­ment will re­view the rec­om­men­da­tions of the plan once again and se­lect the ones they will take ac­tion on by match­ing them with goals of the board of com­mis­sion­ers.

Af­ter the ac­tion items are de­ter­mined, Brown said, the depart­ment will go on a re­treat and de­ter­mine how they will move for­ward in im­ple­ment­ing those items and how to hold them­selves ac­count­able for the items se­lected.

County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Pres­i­dent De­bra Davis (D) said there is a “pos­i­tive buzz” around the county in the busi­ness com­mu­nity be­cause of the depart­ment and the up­com­ing strate­gic plan.

Davis said the plan is like “in­fra­struc­ture be­fore you build” in the busi­ness com­mu­nity and is es­sen­tial mov­ing for­ward.

“You’ve got to have a ba­sis. You’ve got to set the ship in a cer­tain align­ment for ev­ery­body else to get on,” Davis said. “I’m ex­cited about it.”

Davis said she ap­pre­ci­ates the depart­ment bas­ing its de­ci­sions on facts and data and not just the­ory.

Brown said “al­most 100 per­cent” of the round­table’s at­ten­dees were ei­ther “quite likely” or “ex­tremely likely” to rec­om­mend fu­ture busi­ness round­tables to other busi­ness own­ers around the com­mu­nity, which is a con­stant goal for the depart­ment, he said.

“That is crit­i­cally im­por­tant,” Brown said. “When we reach out to the busi­ness com­mu­nity, we don’t want to waste their time. What we’re say­ing here is that their time is not be­ing wasted.”

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