The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 21, 2013

Panel helps steer economy

(Continued)

JEFFERSON —

• Develop a communication infrastructure that disseminates / provides a to share information about economic opportunities

• Establish a central image (branding) for the county. Develop an aggressive marketing plan for competitive advantage businesses

• Create (or expand) an industry-business-education council

• Maintain regulations, taxes, mandates and policies that promote the jobs and businesses of the new economy and promote growth

• Streamline the process to reduce fragmentation to improve customer service

• Having a centralized source for information on funding sources.

• One unified web page for the county

In the weeks, months and years since its creation, the Ashtabula County Economic Steering committee has met diligently, sometimes several times a month, to help address the issues deemed most pressing by community leaders, Taylor said.

The committee focused on the positive aspects of Ashtabula County: the collaboration, lower property and income tax rates when compared to neighboring counties, the high quality of life, a quality educational system, access to quality of healthcare, and an Ashtabula County workforce that is eager and willing to work, he said.

“The Economic Steering Committee was a unique opportunity to join with a varied cross-section of business and community leaders to review current economic development efforts and augment those efforts with additional energy and focus,” said committee member Ken Johnson.

The steering committee worked in conjunction with the commissioners to help facilitate a county permitting process that is now streamlined with reduced fragmentation to improve customer service, Johnson said. The committee also worked with the commissioners as county officials established a business service representative position that was deployed in an effort to communicate with businesses and to help grow existing businesses within the county. And in the past six months the committee met to begin a countywide brand that would embrace the future growth of all facets within Ashtabula County’s economy.

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