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Edgefield County Council Chairman’s Update

By Dean Campbell
web posted June 6, 2014

COUNTY –  Economic Development, Working on the big and the small. To try to help find ways to recruit, nurture and grow small businesses in Edgefield County, a Subcommittee of the Edgefield County Economic Development Committee has begun meeting to focus on that topic. The Economic Development Committee is an advisory group to the County Council, and its members are appointed by Council.

This Subcommittee is going to review what small business needs so that the Subcommittee can provide recommendations on what we as a County should do to help current small businesses and aid in the investment of new small businesses in our County.

Even though we have an Edgefield County Economic Development Committee, which has been meeting for decades, many people may not be aware of what they do. They discuss various parts of the economic development in our County, and, when necessary, advise County Council on what they recommend from a strategic standpoint. For example, several months ago they advised the Council on items we should put into the Edgefield County Strategic Plan.

The Committee is established by County Ordinance, and has a specific purpose and objectives, which are:
(a)   To serve the county council in an advisory capacity concerning matters of economic development;
(b)    To expand economic opportunities for the citizens of the county, including but not limited to job creation;
(c)    To cooperate with various county entities and state officials in a manner that ensures the efficient provision of infrastructure and other services related to industrial growth;
(d)   To consider carefully the quality of life for the county's citizens with respect to economic development;
(e)   To help maintain a favorable climate for business and industry in the county; and
(f)     To engage in strategic planning that focuses on economic development.

I believe we can all agree those are significant and necessary duties to help drive economic development, both large industrial prospects and small/retail businesses. With the coming growth of Edgefield County, this group will look at the towns and the County to find ways to create a more business-friendly environment and to look for the best ways to recruit small business to the area.

This new Subcommittee members are John Pettigrew (representing private business), Brandon Clary (Edgefield County Hospital CEO), and Ken Durham (Mayor of Edgefield), all of whom volunteered to serve. This group will report its findings/recommendations to the full Committee. From there, the Committee would pass on to Council its recommendations.

The County’s Economic Development future was discussed last year at the County’s first Economic Development Summit, designed to bring a renewed focus on bringing jobs to Edgefield County. As you continue to see in the media, we are working with a large wood pellet industry that wants to open its doors in Edgefield County. We want to ensure we are doing more to develop small businesses as well.

We’ll include public comment and vetting of information on this small business investment work. However, this Subcommittee is just getting started.

I look forward to the fruits of their labor.

Dean Campbell

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