ROCKVILLE — On Nov. 12, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro and County Executive Marc Elrich announced a new County Economic Development Platform.
The new platform will focus on business development, housing transportation and workforce development.
In addition to the development platform, Navarro introduced a resolution to unify the council’s focus on economic development. The resolution, according to the council, is meant to be a guiding document that identifies a diversified economy, innovation, racial equity and environmental sustainability as goals.
“The goal of the resolution is to institutionalize a strategic economic framework that enables a focused and disciplined implementation of the county’s economic initiatives. Adopting this platform is an important step to emphasize the fact that Montgomery County is a great place for business, Elrich stated. Navarro is the lead sponsor of the resolution, and all other councilmembers are cosponsors,” wrote the county.
In recent months, the council has paid special attention to economic development and racial equity by focusing on ways to increase affordable housing, engage with businesses that would bring more jobs to the county and finding sustainable best practices. The council has also been briefed and voted to support recommendations by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
“We stand united as a government that is laser-focused on reinvigorating Montgomery County’s economic development efforts to achieve a thriving and diversified economy in our community,” said Navarro.
“We must elevate and leverage the intellectual, business, and cultural assets that make our community an outstanding place to establish and grow businesses across all sectors. Advancing our economic development goals includes making strategic investments in business development, housing, transportation and workforce development because all of these areas are critical for the long-term success of our county and our community members.”
Elrich noted in his remarks that it is impossible to achieve the kind of social justice goals the county has set for itself without funding.
“For all our commitment to social justice in the county, social justice requires dollars,” he said. “If the economy doesn’t grow, it’s not going to generate the dollars. We need to further some of the other goals that we have.”
He explained that the county has long been the economic powerhouse of the state, one that needs to be connected through affordable housing and practical transit options to reach its true potential.
“We want to make sure that by the beginning of next year people are getting a very clear image that we are changing the way we do business in the county, and local businesses are going to find, should we pass the legislation that they’re going to get preferences on both points and cost, so we want to make sure that our businesses stay here,” Elrich said.
The new Economic Development Platform can be found on the county’s website and illustrates how each factor transportation, workforce development, business development and housing are interconnected to create a more efficient and thriving economy in the area.
“The platform highlights decreasing the cost of doing business, promoting local businesses and a positive business climate, attracting and retaining strategic industries, and expanding entrepreneurial programs as key areas. Expanding workforce development structures to meet the needs of businesses and residents across the entire workforce development continuum is also an essential component of the platform,” wrote the county.
So far, the resolution has garnered support from all the council members.
“The entire council has united to develop these goals, and each of us are committed to addressing obstacles that can prohibit business establishment, growth and retention,” Navarro said. “I hope that the Economic Development Platform Resolution sends a clear message to businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs at home and abroad that Montgomery County truly is open for business.”
The council is scheduled to vote on the resolution covering the new economic development platform on Nov 19.
According to the council, once the resolution is in place each of the council’s committees will develop action items for the pillars of the Economic Development Platform and report their recommendations to the full council on issues like potential budget, policy changes or legislative measures among others to enhance the county’s economic growth.
“Working towards the established goals of the Economic Development Platform will enhance our ability to attract the innovators and business investment necessary to sustain the programs, services, and amenities that make our County an extraordinary community,” Navarro said.