Montgomery County, worried that Fairfax County's $700,000-a-year promotional campaign may be luring new business prospects away, has decided to spend $100,000 on a campaign of its own.
The county has contracted with the Bethesda firm of Kal Merrick & Salan to produce a blitz of brochures, newsletters and audio-visual presentations detailing what officials say is the good business climate an quality of life in montgomery.
The struggle among area jurisdictions to attract new business and industry "is getting more competitive," County Executive Charles Gilchrist said. "We want to be sure we tell our story and continue economic development in Montgomery County."
Previously, promotion of Montgomery County's business climate consisted of a slick slide show geared to the corporate executive. It played up the county's country clubs, high-priced famous-name stores and its elegant, expensive housing.
This $4,800-slide presentation is still in use, according to Ioanna Morfessis, acting director of the county's economic development office, and both county official and corporate executives have shown the film in various countries.
Montgomery's promotion program seems modest in comparison with that of Fairfax and neighboring Prince George's County, which earmarked over $400,000 on a marketing program and tourism promotion this year. But it is considerably more than the $17,000 Arlington County spends.
Montgomery officials say they hope to edge out the other jurisdictions by promoting the "outstanding" quality of life in Montgomery. What will be stressed, said Morfessis, is the county's "school system, its many services, such as the ones for the elderly and the handicapped . . . our recreational programs and our beautiful parks system."
One question about the promotion program county officials have difficulty answering is how they will attract new business when Montgomery has little sewer capacity for new construction.
"It's going to be a tough problem. But it's one we're all aware of," said Steve Smith, who will be spearhead the county's promotion effort at the Kal Merrick firm.
An on-again, off-again sewer moratorium has stymied growth in Montgomery for the last eight years. On Wednesday, however, the county lifted the temporary sewer moratorium imposed in May after it found a way of sending an additional 300,000 gallons of sewage to the Blue Plains regional treatment plant in the District of Columbia.
But most of the 300,000 gallons has already been committed for construction projncts, according to Ann Gorneva, a county environmental planner.
And of that 300,000 gallons has already committed for construction projects, according to Ann Gorneva, a county environmental planner.
And of that 300,000 gallons only 80,000 will be alloted for about five major commercial projects. The rest will go toward 723 low-and-middle-income housing units and 40 to 45 single-family homes.