Panel sets Strategic Plan goals; Commissioners put focus on families, economic development; 'Long-range objectives'; 8 points presented to serve as guidebook in board's 4-year term


Strengthening economic development and families are the two themes at the heart of Carroll's Strategic Plan, a "to do" list the Board of County Commissioners presented to the public last night.

The plan -- an outgrowth of the three commissioners' campaign promises -- will serve as a guidebook during the board's four-year term.

However, many of the goals look many more years into the future.

"This board is thinking of long-range objectives, 50 years out as opposed to thinking three or four years ahead," Commissioner Donald I. Dell told the audience of more than 100 residents -- many of them county employees, elected officials and community leaders -- at the County Office Building in Westminster.

One problem that demands long-term solutions is crime and substance abuse among youth, said Robert A. "Max" Bair, county executive assistant.

It's a problem everybody pays for, Bair said. Carroll taxpayers spend about $3.9 million on drug prevention, treatment and court costs.

"These kids these days are doing things more serious and more anti-social," he said.

Bair said the solution to such problems must start at home with strong families.

John T. Lyburn, director of economic development, said the county needs to develop more industrial sites so his department can continue to create wealth for the county.

"We have more prospects than we have land," he said.

Bair and Lyburn were two of seven department leaders who explained the wide-ranging Strategic Plan.

Its eight goals and accompanying strategies and objectives are:

Promote economic development: design business-friendly government processes and fee structures; evaluate economic development land and zoning needs; survey commuters leaving the county to find out what skills the county exports and what business it fosters; assure a suitable supply of safe, affordable housing.

Reduce the risk of crime and substance abuse, with attention to prevention, enforcement and treatment, so that Carroll County remains a safe place to live: promote family well-being and community involvement; support law enforcement; develop a plan to reduce crime and drug abuse.

Ensure that Carroll County remains a place where all citizens can live healthy, secure and productive lives: identify the amount and extent of private and nonprofit investment; encourage programs that promote and reinforce the role of the family; promote an environment in which residents are ensured equality and self-sufficiency.

Improve the network of state and local roads: develop, adopt and implement a countywide transportation master plan; reduce congestion and delays on county and state roadways; facilitate economic development through investment in and improvement of the county roads; increase citizen involvement in the transportation planning process; improve safety and function of roadways.

Pursue an aggressive agricultural preservation program, encourage agribusiness and sponsor initiatives that sustain farming and maintain the county's rural beauty: coordinate the agriculture preservation effort; support traditional agricultural enterprises that use most of the agricultural land and generate most of the income; strengthen the easement acquisition program; promote and encourage family farming.

Promote a strong cooperative relationship with the county Board of Education to address a common goal of providing quality, affordable education that prepares children to join the work force or seek higher education: Develop funding arrangement that addresses school board needs while recognizing county funding limitations for operational and capital budgets; develop mutually agreed criteria for evaluating funding ratios and student achievements; facilitate cooperative ventures between the school board, business, county commissions and other education institutions.

Create a better approach to industrial, commercial and residential land development by streamlining the development review, zoning and permit processes: identify industrial sites that can be preapproved for development; create a one-stop permit process; seek public input on zoning ordinances.

Encourage county employees to be fiscally creative in an environment that sustains high energy and morale: create an environment where employees perform jobs at the highest level and where employees are encouraged to solve problems creatively.

Pub Date: 9/15/99

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