The Economic Development Strategy that was created and outlined by John Rhodes, a Senior Principal of Moran, Stahl & Boyer Economic Development Consultants, was adopted by the City Council on Monday, January 25. Among many proposals, the comprehensive strategy suggested that a Director of Economic Development position be created to facilitate the progress of the plan. Following the adoption of the plan, Councilman Grier made a motion to establish a part-time staff position for the purposes of overseeing economic development that will remain for the rest of this fiscal year. The motion was adopted unanimously by council the same night.
The City is implementing immediate plans to ensure that Economic Development is a top priority. Although the Economic Development Strategy suggested that a full-time position be developed, the Economic Development Committee suggested that the position begin as part-time and temporary. The position will be held for 4 to 5 months and a recommendation about whether the position is necessary will then be made.
“We are very cognizant of the impact of reducing last year’s budget and the fiscal situation we are in. We do not want to rush into filling any positions that are not necessary. This will give us a chance to begin focusing on Economic Development right away and also give us a chance to evaluate the position and its future,” stated City Manager David Baird.
The new Director of Economic Development, Richard Carmean, was selected to the position early last week to act as the intermediate official that will help determine the level of necessity the position holds. Mr. Carmean has worked for the City of Milford as Chief of Police and City Manager. He also has experience working alongside agencies such as State Planning and DELDOT (Delaware Department of Transportation) while with the City. Mr. Carmean acknowledges that he is taking this position to help the City determine the necessity of the Director of Economic Development. If it is determined that the position should become permanent Mr. Carmean states he “will help the City find his replacement.”
The Economic Development Committee will lay out the proposed Economic Development Strategy as a road map for the future of Milford and set the parameters for the Director’s job. The purpose of the Strategy is to help guide investment that will create an environment for public and private business and entrepreneur investment within the city. The plan looks at Milford’s future in the year2025 by investigating multiples aspects of the city including types employers and jobs, use of land, growth of the downtown area, opportunities for the next generation and improving quality education.
Mr. Carmean states that the first thing he will do is “work with local businesses and companies to see what the city can do to help demonstrate what direction the city is going.” He will focus on using public input to help expand local existing businesses. “The public must be involved for this to be successful,” stated Mr. Carmean.
He would like to see an effort focused on creating jobs that keep the next generation of Milfordians here. “I know this problem all too well,” stated Mr. Carmean “I have one child in Philadelphia and two in Tennessee. They can’t move back to Milford and replicate the jobs they have there.” One aspect he hopes to focus on is developing strategies that produce more possibilities and opportunities for the younger generation to stay.
As the new Director begins to create a strategy for the position, the Economic Development Committee will begin to lay out the plan as a road map to guide the future of the city. They will work together to ensure that dialogue between themselves and individuals remains open. “We must make sure that people have the opportunity to have a say in the future of the community,” commented Mr. Carmean. Committee meeting will be open to the public and posted to the City of Milford’s website. Mr. Carmean will have an office in City Hall and encourages residents to stop in.