Ventura County has taken some first steps toward setting an economic vitality framework into place.
A plan presented to the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 7 brings the issue of economic vitality to center stage in a county that’s experienced a very slow recovery from the Great Recession.
The plan, presented by the office of County Executive Officer Michael Powers, correctly recognizes that county government has a limited, though important, role in the overall economic health of the county. Much of that role is in making sure that when businesses and inviduals interact with the county, they do so in a way that’s cost-effective and efficient.
But the county has a role in recruiting companies to come to the region and working with companies that are seeking to expand in the county on issues such as training and permitting large projects. It also has a role to play in making sure that new regulations, particularly environmental rules, don’t put capricious and arbitrary burdens on businesses seeking to expand or move to the area.
One of the positives about Ventura County is that it does already have a fairly effective framework for supporting economic vitality. The Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County, or EDC-VC, provides training and direct assistance to companies via a number of loan programs. Ventura County Economic Development Association, of which the Business Times is a longstanding member, does business advocacy on many key issues. And the county’s Workforce Investment Board has been recognized for its effectiveness in mounting a campaign to recruit companies to the region called “Grow Your Business, Live Your Life.”
As the report points out, there is a lot of work ahead. The county needs a more business-friendly website, it needs to do a better job of explaining how its many partnerships can help a wide variety of businesses and it needs to continuously improve efficiency and effectiveness. It also remains to be seen how Ventura County and its cities will capitalize on a new Gold Team initiative at the state level announced recently by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assemblymember Jeff Gorell. That effort puts Ventura County at the center of a statewide program to recruit companies to California.
There is a lot going on in Ventura County to promote economic vitality. Best of all, more can be done without spending another nickel of taxpayer money.