The county is set to hire a firm to create a strategic economic development plan. The aim of the plan is to get all of the county’s various economic development groups on the same page when it comes to attracting new businesses to the region.

Commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $10,000 to hire a an Austin-based firm to facilitate the plan.

The plan, to be developed by Delta Associates, comes at the recommendation of a countywide group created by the Galveston County Economic Alliance. The group met in January and again in February to focus on a more collaborative effort when it comes to economic development issues.

The economic development directors for the cities of Dickinson, Santa Fe, League City, Texas City, La Marque, Friendswood, Clear Lake Shores, as well as the top executives from the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, Galveston Economic Partnership and Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce were part of the initial meetings.

One of the recommendations from those meetings was for the county to work with an outside group to develop the strategic plan.

“The vision of the group was the creation of a collaborative effort involving all economic development entities countywide while maintaining control for specific projects at the local community level,” Bix Rathburn, a consultant working with the alliance, wrote in a summary report to the commissioners.

“The group expressed a desire for the county to assume a shared strategic planning, collaboration development, marketing and information sharing role supporting economic development efforts.”

The effort came at the request of County Judge Mark Henry, who is looking for ways to develop a unified voice in attracting new business to the county.

Henry said he wanted to also see better sharing of information between various economic development groups so that if a company does look at the area, but finds one community not suitable, the county could facilitate finding a community that’s the right fit.

The county’s various economic entities are concerned that any single-source economic development operation could get in the way of individual efforts.

“The group expressed concerned that an inappropriately structured countywide economic development operation might attempt to direct or control the flow of information to various communities or EDCs or attempt to direct local economic development efforts.”

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or

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