FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL
By. Neil Williamson, President
Longtime college basketball fans may remember the frustrating four corners offense. Before the adoption of the shot clock in college basketball, it was most frequently used to retain a lead by holding on to the ball until the clock ran out.
In the nationally televised 1982 ACC championship game between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the University of Virginia Cavaliers, Carolina held the ball for roughly the last twelve minutes of the second half to nurse a small lead. The next year, the ACC approved a shot clock pilot program
A minority version of UNC’s hated four corners offense seems to be on display at the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.
On Wednesday, June 2nd Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors (BOS) will be accepting public comment regarding the Draft Economic Development Action Plan. This plan is a direct result of the six point action plan passed 4-2 (Mallek, Rooker opposed) by the BOS on January 6th, 2010.
The January 6th action plan set out specific goals and deadlines for government action. The same ideas are present in the six point action plan with clearly defined strategies, actions and metrics for success. Clearly, the action plan has a sense of urgency to it.
When presented with the draft Economic Development Action Plan last month, some Board members were upset that they were not consulted in the development of the draft.
Brandon Shuleetta reported in the Daily Progress:
Independent Dennis S. Rooker called it “completely inappropriate” to work with county staff and community leaders on a major initiative without informing the board. Rooker said that it would have been “the easiest thing” for Boyd to say at a public meeting that he wanted county leaders to start crafting an economic development action plan.
Despite Mr. Rooker’s stated concern, the six point plan that was approved by a majority of the Board 4-2 contained the following verbiage:
Staff should work closely with the Partnership for Economic Development [TJPED] and the Chamber of Commerce to develop a plan in the first six months of 2010 to significantly increase non-personal tax revenue through economic growth and not increased taxes to our business community.
During the meeting on January 6th, Mr. Rooker also expressed his opposition to all of these items coming forward at once without a staff report or public input.
Regarding the January 6th Action Plan, Ms. Mallek explained her negative vote on her blog:
Voting immediately on information in a new form, presenting multiple issues without time for discussion or public input is not necessarily in the best interest of our citizens.
Clearly, the current majority of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors are focused on Economic Development as their priority issue. The staff has, as directed by formal BOS action, worked with The Chamber and TJPED [The Free Enterprise Forum was not a part of these meetings] to develop an economic development action plan.
It is not an accident that “action” is a part of the plan. While the minority of the Board may wish to employ delaying tactics, it is up to the entire community and the majority of the board to continue to “press the ball up the floor” to address the need for economic development.
Time is short. While local government does not create economic development it can create a positive (or negative) enterprise environment. Enterprises mean jobs, good career ladder jobs. Is that a priority for you?
In last month’s BOS meeting, several individuals spoke in opposition to the manner the plan was developed and some seemed to indicate economic development could be harmful to Albemarle County.
While I do not expect to see pitchforks and torches at the Albemarle County Office Building on June 2nd, I do anticipate a number of citizens will voice their opinions of economic development to the members of the BOS.
The question is will you?
The Board’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org