Brown briefs county on strategic plan process
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.”