Candice’s 12 Point Economic Development Program to Create and Bring Well-Paying Jobs to Charles County:
1 Maintaining solid and progressive K-12 and higher education systems is necessary to assure our long and short term economic development potential, as well as the futures of our children. There will be no retrenchment in or layoff of classroom teachers under any circumstance, the recession notwithstanding. We have made substantial gains in general academic and minority achievement in particular, and we will not go backward under Candice’s leadership. Period!
2 Most jobs are created by small businesses, and they make -up the vast majority of all businesses in Charles County. Candice will create a new County Government small business procurement and reserve program to assure our small local businesses enjoy a substantial portion of County government procurement dollars, that we keep these dollars in Charles County, and we grow and expand our local business and jobs base. This will be race and gender neutral, and will be in addition to, but not supplant, the current voluntary MBE program.
3 Capitalize on our strong military presence by working with our federal congressional representatives, state government agencies, the base at Indian Head and the Indian Head Defense Alliance and other applicable entities to assure to continued stability of the base, attract new tenant commands, and promote technology transfer and commercialization of energetics and other military applications.
4 Assure that commercial and residential development is appropriately balanced, and that one complements the other in terms of our economic development needs.
5 There are a number of property tax credit and other tax incentives authorized by the State for County use that could be utilized to attract new firms to the county or expand existing ones; yet, little or no apparent use has been made of any. Sometimes a little has to be foregone up-front to reap a lot. Candice will make strategic use of these incentives to attract firms that will provide new, well-paying jobs and demonstrable positive tax returns to the County treasury.
6 Charles County must maintain a dynamic presence in the Washington Region and further broaden its reach in the region to become competitive in every way possible. If elected, Candice will increase the County’s level of involvement in key regional organizations, such the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. By doing so, we ensure a voice at the table when decisions are made and projects undertaken that can effect our economic development, such as a recently initiated regional workforce development proposal.
7 Develop an aggressive economic development strategic plan in conjunction with other relevant (e.g., educational, workforce development, high tech, defense oriented, energy, green, etc.) local participants/sister institutions that will identify appropriate targeted industries to seek, develop an action plan to achieve it, and carefully target the County’s investment of economic development marketing dollars to efforts likely to succeed.
8 Make strategic use of tax increment financing and private activity bond tools available to the County for private development proposals offering high paying jobs and/or high net tax returns, and at the same time leverage these infrastructure financing tools to insist on substantial local business participation in the professional, construction and other services needed for the particular project.
9 To assure the County maximizes its use of available federal and state business development incentives, and pursues new economic development grant opportunities, Candice will re-establish the grants coordinator position cut by the current board, but will re-position it and its focus within the Economic Development Department.
10 The Greater Washington Initiative has identified alternative energy/clean technology as one of the four top emerging growth sectors in the National Capital Region. With abundant industrially developable land, and with already announced clean energy park, new solar and biomass facilities in the planning stages, Charles County will position itself as a center for clean and renewable energy and encourage and market this type of development and associated R & D.
11 Candice will work aggressively with the Governor, local legislative delegation, state agencies and federal representatives, and her fellow commissioners to move the permitted St. Charles natural gas electric generating facility forward. This project, if built, has the greatest near and long-term return for Charles County of any project on the horizon-several million dollars in taxes and fees and 350 construction jobs at peak during its two year construction period, and over $97 million in tax and other revenues over 20 years of operation.
12 To further spur job creation and expand/invigorate an industry locally, the County, under Candice’s leadership, will create an energy efficiency retrofit program for business and residences using PACE (Property Assisted Clean Energy) bonds. Under this totally voluntary program, authorized by state government, the County would issue bonds to make low interest loans for residential and commercial energy efficiency retrofits, with repayment of the loans guaranteed by tying them to property tax bills. By amortizing the cost of the retrofits over the life of the bond issue, monthly energy savings more than offset the cost of the loan, any balance of which transfers with the property until fully satisfied. This will complement energy audits and efficiency programs already being undertaken by SMECO and will stimulate the local economy.