By. Neil Williamson
Albemarle County is currently holding roundtables to discuss their proposed economic development action plan (pdf). This evening (6/23) the first of the roundtables were held. There was a very good showing of a cross section of Albemarle County including business interests, agricultural interests, environmental interests and regular citizens. In total, we counted over 35 individuals at the meeting.
The original draft plan was developed by a small group of stakeholders including the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development (TJPED). This original draft went to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors in June.
The Free Enterprise Forum is fascinated by the word smithing that is being conducted to take the meaning out of much of the document.
1. EXPAND COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY – convey to the business community and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) that Albemarle County is “open for business.”
In the revised draft (new language in italics):
1. EXPAND COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY – convey to the business community and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) that Albemarle County is “open for business.” committed to working with businesses to promote economic vitality.
Words have meaning – are you open or not?
In addition, during the roundtable we raised the importance of those enterprises that might not be “businesses”. Our community has several large “non-profit” employers that contribute a great deal to the fabric of the community including providing important services (and the jobs that go with them). The Free Enterprise Forum prefers using the verbiage “enterprises” instead of businesses to recognize the importance of employers that may not fit the strict definition of business.
Words have meaning and the more the Economic Development Action Plan is edited with squishy word and vague statements the weaker a document it becomes.
If Albemarle County is serious about economic development it should shout it from the rooftops for all to hear. The Free Enterprise Forum believes the Action Plan should say Albemarle is “Open for Business” or accept that it is closed for economic opportunity.
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