Producing Economic Development During an Economic Challenge

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As Milford continues to grow, city officials and private businesses are looking for opportunities to partner in the name of economic development. Richard Carmean, Director of Economic Development, has been an advocate in this position for the city of Milford since it was created in January along with the Economic Development Advisory Panel. Both entities are part of the Economic Strategy Plan that was created and outlined by John Rhodes, a Senior Principal of Moran, Stahl & Boyer Economic Development Consultants, and accepted by Milford City Council.

As Director of Economic Development, Richard Carmean is determined to create an environment that will be advantageous for new businesses to move to Milford and create jobs. Working with the Department of Economic Development Office (DEDO), Sussex County, Delaware Department of Transportation(DELDOT) and other public and private enterprises Richard Carmean has put the wheels in motion for projects ranging from the addition of new positions in existing local businesses to expansion of new businesses into the Milford area.

Carmean has been working with existing and new businesses in Milford constructing economic incentives for those that add jobs to the local economy. In an attempt to create incentives to attract new businesses the City of Milford has already offered a waiver of impact fees that begun in June 2010.Since the waiver of impact fees was implemented the City has waived $184,874 in fees. This waiver has allowed property owners in Milford to retain this money and has helped to support a total investment of $10,809,507 (based on building permit values) during the months of June 2010 through May 2011.

New incentives described by Mr. Carmean may include impact fees for water, sewer and electric usage for businesses currently operating in Milford who add jobs to the local economy. By adding new jobs to the economy the city will begin to see more generated revenue and eventually see the creation of even more new jobs.

“Talking with the experts at DEDO, I was told that for every 1 processing job created in Delaware 4 more jobs will be developed,” stated Mr. Carmean. “Being a town with many blue collar jobs it is important that we create opportunities in these areas.”

Mr. Carmean and the Economic Development Advisory Panel understand that new jobs cannot be created because a government body or panel wills it to be so but by economic factors of each business collectively. This reasoning has led the Economic Development Advisory Panel to develop a process which will help identify what local businesses need in order to start creating jobs in this economic environment.

In an effort to help understand business concerns, the Economic Development Advisory Panel is gathering the input and viewpoints of local businesses and institutions on what they feel Milford needs in order to spur growth and attract new businesses. Milford businesses will receive the Enabling Local Businesses Survey as a building block to create success among the business community. 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.

This is one step in the right direction to understanding what the business community in Milford needs in order to create new jobs and grow the local economy. These answers will be taken into consideration as the Economic Development Advisory Panel pushes forward in their pursuit of economic priorities ranging from workforce development, electricity rates and expanded quality of life opportunities for all age groups.

“I truly believed when I took the position that in the first five months, in this economic environment, we would not get much done but that is not true,” stated Mr. Carmean “We have accomplished a lot and taxpayers are getting a return on their investment.”
In the near future, Mr. Carmean predicts the Milford area will see an expansion in the medical community with the projected increase in the demographic of retirees. The expansion of medical services, retirement facilities and research and development sites are likely to impact Milford. Along with this increase will be the demand for more businesses including home improvement stores, restaurants and recreational facilities.

The Director of Economic Development will work with the Milford City Council and the Economic Development Advisory Panel to develop a plan that Milford can look towards as it grows. City Council Officials and the Economic Development Advisory Panel have asked that the position of Director of Economic Development be expanded to a full-time position. The expansion of the position was approved under the new 2011-2012 City of Milford budget voted on Monday, June 13. The ability of this council and the advisory panel to reflect the needs and desires of the business community is crucial in moving forward in the future and meeting these economic challenges.

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