Montogomery County officials have been urged to lively woo major businesses and industry and make it easier for them to settle in the county. The [WORD ILLEGIBLE] came in a report issued this week by the county Economic Development Advisory Board.
The board, made up of 41 managers and chief executives of major businesses in Montgomery County, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] that a heavier tax burden on individual citizen unless purchasing power for the dollar and a slow [WORD ILLEGIBLE] in federal government hiring within the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] "pose a major threat to the economic well [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of us all."
[WORD ILLEGIBLE] solve these problems, the county must boost [WORD ILLEGIBLE] growth by "encouraging and assisting" the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of existing business in the county and [WORD ILLEGIBLE] pursuing prestigious companies, said the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] which was presented to the Montgomery [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Council earlier this week.
The board found in its surveys "a very disturbing perceived 'anti-business' attitude on the part of county employes" that complicated the problems of companies that want to locate in the county, said James C. Nance, a member of the advisory board and president of Litton Bionetics Inc. It is a sentiment that is detrimental to the development of a healty economy, the board said.
"Too often, encounters between private businessmen and governmental bureaucrats take on an adversary relationship," the report said. "This has been the case at all levels of government throughout the county . . ."
This "anti-business atmosphere" has heightened during the past decade of the sewer moratorium, according to the economic advisers. The board said this atmosphere is manifested in complex county regulations that cause companies "schedule uncertainties, overruns . . . time, money and countless months of frustration . . . The county has established a reputation for being exceedingly slow and difficult to deal with and unrealiable in approval for the construction of major employments facilities."
Nance said that "a construction project manager from a multi-national corporation noted that in 15 years of construction experience throughout the United States, he had never encountered procedures as arduous and lengthy as we have here."
In times when all area jurisdications are competing to attract major companies, Montgomery County cannot afford to sit back and wait for the businesses to come knocking, the report said.
County officials must aggressively pursue businesses, must guide them through complicated building and permit regulations and "take all steps possible to achieve additional sewage treatment capacity," according to the report.
"Every avenue must be explored, and solutions found and implemented," the report said in a reference to resources for sewage treatment, long a problem for the county because ot its moratoruim on sewer construction.
"If the county is serious, we need to engage in intensive marketing development to get our message across to our existing employers who want to invest in our county," said board member Glen Soloman, a consultant of the Electronics Industries Foundation.
The advisory board members, who also include Joseph Danzansky, chairman of the board of Giant Foods, and Harold Timken, president of Quanta Systems, gathered information for the report from sources that included county planning board studies, tax reports and details survey ofmajor Montgomery County businesses, according to the report.
County Executive James P. Gleason and James F. Giegerich, director of he Office of Economic Development, appointed the board in November 1976.
Gleason "was concerned that the county should pick up its exonomic health" Giegerich said. "It was a bad situation - especially with construction. There was almost no growth in the county."
Gleason said he was pleased with the report.
"These are things that government must do if we are going to correct the situation," he said.
Council member Neal Potter was skeptical of the board's statement that lack of ecomonic growth has resulted in a decrease in the commercial tax base, thus shifting the greater part of the tax burden to residental property owners. Potter contended that assessors of commercial property "have not kept track of inflation," and that commercial assessments are too low.
Potter, an economist, said the board's proposals for Montgomery County "require some real deep analysis. I don't disagree with their objectives, but we have to know what has been happening and why. Some of our greatest problems are due to state and federal agencies like EPA (the Envoirmmental Portection Agency) keeping us from getting a sewage treatment facility proposed for Dickerson, which has been the subject of litigation for months.
"I've been working on the sewer problem for seven years. If they (members of the Economic Development Advisory Board) can find a way to solve it, then they can go to it," said Potter.