Albemarle Officials Discuss Possible Economic Development Office
Albemarle County is beginning discussions on opening an economic development office. Supervisors met with the Albemarle County Economic Advisory Board Thursday morning.
Several supervisors say they are in favor of establishing the office to attract new business to the county. Now, they're trying to get an idea for what the responsibilities of the economic director would be.
Supervisors heard from the economic development director from Harrisonburg, who stressed the importance of having a liaison in the county to deal with new businesses. They also heard from a business consultant, who says it's unusual for a county the size of Albemarle to not have an office like this set up. He says the office could help determine what new companies would be right for the area, and help market to them.
"How does the county kind of build a vision and a plan around attracting companies that are desirable to this community? How do we build the education assets? How do we build the quality of life assets, while making sure that this continues to be a forward looking community?,” said Christopher Lloyd, senior VP at McGuire Woods consulting.
"I personally, as an individual supervisor. am 100 percent behind it, I think it's a long time coming. It's how we design the responsibilities and the focus that will be a matter of full-board decision making,” said Jane Dittmar, Albemarle County supervisor.
The new office would come with a significant budget obligation. It is estimated the new hires would cost around $160,000 every year going forward.
Supervisors will bring the topic up again at a public hearing February 12 to endorse a plan going forward, but no final decision will be made on funding a new program until the beginning of March.
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