Economic Advisory Panel Links History to Future

Councilman Garrett Grier, Mayor Ronnie Rogers, and Chairwoman of the Advisory Panel Sher Valenzuela talking about the Economic Development Plan at City Hall after the City Council Meeting.

Staff Report

On March 23, 2011, the Milford Economic Development Panel held its first meeting at City Hall. The Panel is a result of the Strategic Plan Report that was authored by consultant John Rhodes’ of Moran, Stahl & Boyer; a plan that was unanimously accepted by Milford’s City Council.

Consisting of a cross section from every segment of our community, the Panel is charged with implement the six recommendations of Rhodes’ report, which encompass priorities ranging from workforce development and electricity rates to support for our city’s current and future businesses and expanded quality of life opportunities for all age groups.

Its successful outcome will “adjust the sails” of our city, linking Milford’s rich history with its promising future. Soon all Milford businesses will receive the “Enabling Local Businesses” survey as a “building block” to its success, gathering the input and viewpoints of our local businesses and institutions on what they feel Milford needs in order to spur growth of current business and attract new business to our area. The business survey will be followed by a random survey to Milford citizens and high school students. Information gathered will be reported to all Milford citizens through local media and posted on the City’s website, in an effort to engage the community in connecting its rich past with its promising future.

On Monday, May 9 the Advisory Panel presented to the Milford City Council for the first time since its inception. The purpose of the presentation was to provide City Council with an update on the progress of the Advisory Panel with respect to John Rhodes recommendations found in the Strategic Plan Report.

The Committee for Workforce Development has begun to create partnerships with the Milford School District, the Milford Lions Club and the non-profit organization Junior Achievement. Advisory Panel member Bill Pilecki has been working with the Milford School District and Lions Club in order to offer a scholarship opportunity for Milford students. Sher Valenzuela, Chairwoman of the Advisory Panel, has announced that Junior Achievement, a non-profit that teaches students work readiness and financial literacy, will be moving a southern campus to Milford in an effort to create a partnership with the business community and encourage young people to be more involved in the business community. Both of these initiatives under Workforce Development are aimed at helping students recognize and pursue the possibilities that entrepreneurism offers.
The Committee for Infrastructure and Organizational Support for Economic Development is gathering information addressing concerns that Milford needs to be more competitive with their commercial electric rates. To date, the team has gathered rates from four cities in Delaware with similar demographics. The next step will be to solicit assistance from Richard Carmean in assessing and analyzing the opportunity for Milford to be more competitive.
Dave Hitchens, Vice Chairman of the Advisory Panel, has put forth what he believes will create a successful Milford in the future. “A plan for success starts with a strong foundation. A foundation which is made up of two parts: One being open communication between the community, business and government and the other being strong organization focused on maketing the operations of the City,” stated Mr. Hitchens.
The panel is charged with bringing new ideas to the recently developed Economic Development Strategy for the future of Milford. The Advisory Board will make recommendations to the Economic Development Committee that will then be reviewed and taken to the Milford City Council. The stage has been set. Milford’s “sails” are being adjusted to navigate through these challenging, changing, and exciting times.
For more information on Milford’s Strategic Plan, visit the City of Milford’s website at http://www.cityofmilford.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=638.

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