Advisers eye meshing community identities with general plan

Industry sectors to be targeted for retention, expansion, attraction
By: Raheem Hosseini, Telegraph Correspondent
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Meshing multiple community identities with El Dorado’s general plan and cementing the role of economic development in county government are two of the more ambitious goals of an advisory committee entering its fourth full year. Since late 2006, the Economic Development Advisory Committee has worked under the auspice of the county’s Office of Economic Development. At its April 28 meeting, the committee discussed goals for a 2010-11 work plan, which include regulatory reform recommendations intended to help sell companies on the county. Suggestions include looking at environmental review alternatives and looking at ways to reduce or defer transportation impact fees for targeted businesses and industries. Assisting with this process have been two economic analyses of the area. On April 14, Center for Strategic Economic Research director Ryan Sharp offered the committee an overview of one of these studies. The center is gathering economic perspectives to assess the county’s business climate and assets, as well as developing a roster of competitive industry sectors the county should examine developing. That discussion was to continue at the April 28 meeting, with economic development coordinator Sam Driggers saying the committee’s input would factor into what industry sectors would be targeted for retention, expansion or attraction. The committee also recently discussed the need to expand high-speed Internet access throughout the county, with Carol Anne Ogdin of Deep Woods Technology challenging the local business community to lead the charge. According to draft minutes from the April 14 meeting, attendees favored a public-private sector solution to expanding broadband access in the county.