Gov & Business

Montgomery County Council Passes First Economic Strategic Plan Shifting Power From County Executive

MBS Staff
United Therapeutics urban headquarters campus in downtown Silver Spring. Copyright Montgomery Business Scene

Image: United Therapeutics urban headquarters campus in downtown Silver Spring.

The first Economic Development Strategic Plan outside the hands of the County Executive was passed unanimously by the Montgomery County Government Council today.

The plan drafted by the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is supposed to spur economic growth in the County against competing jurisdictions in the region such as Farifax County in Virginia and the District of Columbia. It includes achieving certain target metrics, strategies and concrete measures for increasing business activity in the County.   

The MCEDC with the website thinkmoco.com was placed in charge of Montgomery County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan last year when Council Bill 10-21 was enacted on May 27, 2021.

The full announcement can be read below, the actual Economic Development Strategic Plan can be found here in PDF form.

Montgomery County Council Adopts Economic Development Strategic Plan

The plan establishes a unified vision for economic development in Montgomery County

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 5, 2022—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution to adopt an Economic Development Strategic Plan, which aims to strengthen the County’s economic growth and includes target metrics, strategies and concrete measures for increasing business activity in the County.  

Council Bill 10-21, enacted May 27, 2021, shifted the responsibility of drafting the Economic Development Strategic Plan from the County Executive to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). The goal of the plan is to have one unified vision for economic development in Montgomery County.

“Economic development spurs financial growth and increases the quality of life for our community,” said Council President Albornoz. “The Economic Development Strategic Plan is a unified plan that is comprised of viable recommendations to help guide the County forward toward economic prosperity in the 21st century. As we continue to recover from the global pandemic, we should not lose sight that the projects identified in this innovative framework will build our workforce and help sustain our County for years to come.”

“Montgomery County needs to be more aggressive and focused in creating and pursuing economic development that leads to good jobs for our residents,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer, who chairs the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. “That’s why I co-lead the original legislation requiring an Economic Development Strategic Plan, why I supported the creation of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and why I am so pleased to have supported and helped develop this new update of the Plan, following Councilmember Friedson’s legislation. This document reflects the progress we have made in strengthening the County’s economic development efforts over the last decade, while highlighting the areas where we could be doing much more. I am particularly pleased to have a renewed focus on growing the County’s biohealth industry and a new focus on laying the groundwork to be part of a new regional cluster of businesses exploiting quantum computing, possibly one of the biggest growth industries over the next few decades. Now we must all get to work implementing these programs.”

“The Montgomery County Economic Development Strategic Plan is a living, breathing, thoughtful document that aligns its vision and priorities with the four pillars of the County’s Economic Development Platform which I authored in 2019: transportation, housing, workforce development and business development,” said Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who serves as chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee. “Montgomery County is a thriving business ecosystem, and I am pleased to be part of a leadership team working hard to ensure that it is business friendly and focused on supporting all our businesses strategically and equitably.”

“I want to thank MCEDC for their outstanding work to coordinate the County’s economic strategic activities into one Economic Strategic Plan,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz. “I also want to emphasize the importance of small businesses, incubators and accelerators to be included in this strategic economic plan which will transform the business landscape of our County.”  

“Montgomery County can only thrive with a strong local economy to ensure a prosperous future for our community and to sustain our quality of life and core public services,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “This strategic plan will allow us to advance our economic development efforts more comprehensively and collaboratively, and with clear and achievable goals and objectives, our county departments, partner agencies, and private stakeholders will now figuratively and literally be on the same page, guided by a clear vision we can execute together.”

“This first Economic Development Strategic Plan, presented by MCEDC, is a step in the right direction and serves the critical purpose of identifying opportunities, needs and gaps,” said Councilmember Craig Rice, who serves as chair of the Education and Culture (E&C) Committee. “As my Council colleagues and I reviewed it, it became clear MCEDC needs to quickly address those areas for improvement. Our small businesses are diverse and crucial to our economy, yet largely unknown to MCEDC, as MCEDC is unknown to them. I look forward to MCEDC engaging the small business sector through effective outreach and comprehensive support and, in the process, growing our County’s overall economy.”

The plan outlines four strategic priorities:

  •     Priority A: Accelerate innovation, economic drivers and entrepreneurship.
  •     Priority B: Provide greater workforce and educational opportunities.
  •     Priority C: Build livable communities that connect residents to jobs.
  •     Priority D: Create an inclusive economy for shared prosperity.

Input was provided by partner agencies and organizations, including the Planning Board and the County’s Workforce Development Organization, the County Executive, Council and County residents.

As mandated in the County Code, MCEDC transmitted a draft version of the draft plan to the County Executive and the Council on Dec. 31, 2021. A public hearing was held on Feb. 8, 2022, and the PHED Committee reviewed and amended the plan at committee meetings in February and March. The Council unanimously supported the final draft of the plan.  

The plan will be updated every two years to help spur economic development across our community.

The Council staff report for the resolution and plan can be found here.  

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Contact:

Sonya Healy
240-777-7926
Sonya.Healy@montgomerycountymd.gov

Genevieve Kurtz
240-777-7805
Genevieve.Kurtz@montgomerycountymd.gov

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