Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening announced last week he hopes to reorganize the county's Department of Program Planning and Economic Development as an autonomous corporation under contract to the county. The move would have to be approved by the County council.
A task force set up by Glendening after the election to look into the small but sprawling department reported the department's functions were so diverse that major economic development projects "could not possibly receive the appropriate attention."
The task force has recommended that the new Economic Development Corp. take on the business development job of the program planning and economic development department, incorporate the functions of the county's Travel Promotion Council, prepare annual economic development programs for the county and launch a new promotion campaign to attract high-tech industries to the county.
The new corporation also would be responsible for recommending what county businesses receive industrial revenue bonds.
The task force report, released last week, also recommended grouping the county's housing functions, now scattered among several different county agencies, but said the issues involved were so complex they required further study.
"I accept both those recommendations, and will be implementing them" Glendening said. "I'm convinced that these will result in greater efficiency in county government." He said he has appointed a new committee to look into the new corporation and housing proposals and has asked it to report back in 90 days.
"It will take some very careful work, but we also want to move quickly," Glendening said, adding that he hopes to be able to introduce legislation to the County Council soon after the committee reports.
The task force recommended that the county government pay the corporation's short-up money, which would be the same as the 1983 budgets for the agencies involved. Any additional funding would have to come from other sources, the group said. The program planning and economic development budget is $430,000 for 1983.
The corporation, which would have exclusive control over its own budget, also would be responsible for obtaining whatever grants it could squeeze from state and federal governments. It also would attempt to get more money through private membership in the corporation, and charges for services.