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Lake County, FL Economic Development
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Economic Action Plan


Vision

A prosperous local economy supported by a wide range of career opportunities, a diversified tax base, and an exceptional quality of life.

Mission

To aggressively retain, attract and grow jobs in Lake County, in partnership with others, while protecting and improving Lake County’s quality of life and unique character.

Goals

  1. Create a “business friendly” environment, simplify the governmental permitting process, and always be mindful of the impact of governmental regulation on the success of the private sector to retain and create jobs.
  2. Work directly with willing municipalities to assist with the implementation of each city’s economic initiatives, and promote cooperation and coordination between the cities and Lake County.
  3. Assure that we have an available and well-prepared workforce for existing, emerging and prospective businesses, and collaborate with Lake County educators to meet workforce needs and achieve educational excellence.
  4. Establish policies and programs that promote the retention, success, and expansion of existing businesses.
  5. Establish policies and programs to assist start-up and developing businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship.
  6. Attract and recruit new businesses to Lake County by targeting specific industries, drawing upon regional partnerships and using proven business models.
  7. Work directly with the business community, cities, and other stakeholders to promote eco-tourism, recreation, sports and tourism.
  8. Protect and improve our quality of life, and maintain the proper balance between job creation and the protection of our natural resources and unique “Lake County” character.
  9. Establish specific targets and track progress of our economic development efforts and programs, and maintain a sense of urgency as we seek to realize our economic goals.

 

GOAL:  Create a “business friendly” environment, simplify the governmental permitting process, and always be mindful of the impact of governmental regulation on the ability of the private sector to retain and create jobs.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Identify County policies, situations and regulations that adversely affect our economic vision and mission, and implement strategies to correct them (e.g. fees, conflicting regulations, duplicative regulations, lobbyist provisions that impede inquiries from new business prospects, etc.).
  • Identify proven models for streamlining and simplifying the permitting process, and revise current process (e.g. online permitting).
  • Establish a permitting “advocate” or “concierge” to “walk” business owners and prospects through the permitting process and coordinate with Cities and other reviewing agencies.
  • Explore opportunities to create “regulatory” uniformity between Lake County and the cities, and aggressively work with willing cities to implement coordinated procedures.
  • Aggressively pursue the settlement of all Comprehensive Plan challenges in order to achieve certainty and “closure.”
  • Upon final adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, initiate a review of the Comprehensive Plan to identify policies or land use designations that impede job creation and positive economic activity and pursue solutions to rectify such provisions.
  • Upon final adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, initiate an administrative correction process to address inconsistencies, scrivener’s errors, and new land use designations that impose greater restrictions on particular parcels than the prior land use designation for those parcels.
  • Continually evaluate the development process for increased efficiencies, and immediately evaluate and respond to internal and external feedback in an effort to improve existing procedures.
  • Reinforce a positive “customer service” attitude at all levels of County government through training and internal policies.

 


GOAL: Work directly with willing municipalities to assist with the implementation of each city’s economic initiatives, and promote cooperation and coordination between the cities and Lake County.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Utilize District Commissioners to reach out to elected officials in their Districts and “team” up with one or more elected officials from each City in order to become familiar with their economic vision and specific projects (e.g. infrastructure projects, targeted industries), and  to identify opportunities to assist Cities with implementation of their economic initiatives.
  • Utilize District Commissioners to reach out to elected officials in their Districts to discuss opportunities for improving or streamlining the development review process and request their support for monthly meetings between County and City planning and zoning directors to identify ways to align the development process across jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Utilize ISBA, Joint Planning Agreements, Interlocal Agreements or less formal initiatives such as Joint Resolutions to assist Cities with implementation of their economic initiatives.
  • Create an inventory map and matrix for each region of the County identifying improved and vacant parcels that are available for targeted industries which have specific needs regarding acreage, location and building specifications (e.g. light industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, high technology, agri-business), and provide maps and related information to cities to use as a planning and recruiting tool.
  • Create a county-wide map showing existing and emerging industry clusters and provide to cities to use as a planning and recruiting tool.
  • Share economic analysis, forecasts and similar technical information to the cities and promote cooperation and collaboration through regular communication (e.g. monthly meetings, emails, workshops).
  • Establish a permitting “advocate” or “concierge” to “walk” business owners and prospects through the permitting process and offer this service to the cities.

 


GOAL: Assure that we have an available and well-prepared workforce for existing, emerging and prospective businesses, and collaborate with Lake County educators to meet workforce needs and achieve educational excellence.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Meet with each education “partner” (e.g. School Board, LSCC, Lake Tech) or conduct an Education and Economic Summit with all partners to:
    • Discuss our economic vision and mission:
    • Share specific goals related to education and workforce needs;
    • Review existing programs and explore possibility of expanding programs that have been well-received and adding new programs to address targeted industries;
    • Discuss ways to showcase existing strengths and positive statistics;
    • Identify new procedures to facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration; and
    • Propose the adoption of a joint resolution emphasizing our desire to cooperate and work together on specific education and economic-related goals.
  • Utilize economic development staff to identify existing and emerging workforce needs and to coordinate and communicate with education partners and the business community.
  • Identify successful education and training models which address existing and emerging workforce needs, and share these opportunities with our education partners and facilitate implementation of such programs (e.g. High Tech Corridor teacher training and curriculum; mentoring and apprenticeships).

 


GOAL: Establish policies and programs that promote the retention, success, and expansion of existing businesses.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Create a mechanism for communicating with existing businesses, and collect pertinent data to provide to business owners and operators (e.g. tradeshow information, Technical Assistance programs, etc.).
  • Conduct weekly “business” site visits (involve County Commissioners and County Manager as determined by staff).
  • Evaluate successful models for Business Retention and Expansion Programs and consider implementation of new, revised or expanded programs (e.g. revolving loan fund for equipment purchases, building renovations or construction).
  • Evaluate successful models for Technical Assistance Programs and consider implementation of new, revised or expanded programs, and offer services of Technical Assistance Programs to all Lake County businesses.  
  • Build relationships with the Chambers and other business-related organizations to assure communication and coordination, and to identify needs and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Identify workforce needs of existing Lake County companies and collaborate with LSCC, Lake Tech, and Lake County School Board to develop programs to address existing and emerging workforce needs (e.g. specialized training, additional subjects, magnet schools).
  • Explore ways to connect local students to existing Lake County companies through mentoring or apprenticeship programs.

 


GOAL: Establish policies and programs to assist start-up and developing businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Evaluate successful models for Start-Up and Developing Business Programs and consider implementation of new, revised or expanded programs, including particularly the need for sub-regional programs and accessibility throughout Lake County (e.g. economic gardening, incubators, Entrepreneurship programs, etc.).
  • Review scope and delivery of services provided by the LSCC Business Resource Center and collaborate on solutions to meet funding challenges and to address possible changes in the scope of services to meet specific needs of start-up and developing businesses.    

 


GOAL: Attract and recruit new businesses to Lake County by targeting specific industries, drawing upon regional partnerships and using proven business models. 

ACTION PLAN:

  • Expand list of targeted industries to include light industry and manufacturing, and include all industries targeted by metro-Orlando EDC.
  • Improve utilization of the Metro-Orlando EDC as a national and international marketing tool, and attend target industry tradeshows to market opportunities in Lake County to national and international companies.
  • Notify local companies of tradeshows that would be beneficial to their business.
  • Work with the Metro-Orlando EDC to establish measurable targets and goals; assure regular communication with County Commissioners on pending prospects and marketing efforts.
  • Work closely with our Cities on their economic initiatives and identify opportunities to connect our Cities to the Metro-Orlando EDC staff (e.g. assistance with RFPs, responding to prospects, technical support).
  • Respond to RFI and RFP from Enterprise Florida for companies seeking to expand or relocate to Florida. 
  • Participate in regional planning and collaboration, and identify specific opportunities for sub-region planning (e.g. Sumter and Marion Counties; Seminole, Orange, and Osceola Counties and the City of Orlando) and emerging industry-clusters (e.g. existing Lake County business; private-sector Metro-Orlando EDC partners and investors).
  • Encourage County Commissioners to take a direct role in the process of attracting and recruiting new businesses (e.g. meeting with prospects, traveling if necessary to meet prospective companies, attending trade-shows and economic workshops).
  • Compile a list of ambassadors willing to assist when prospects visit Lake County (e.g. hotels, restaurants, transportation, tours, education and business leaders)
  • Conduct periodic workshops for our residents, businesses and all partners as a mechanism to providing information on our progress and receiving feedback (e.g. “marketing” Lake County for economic prosperity must be a community-wide effort).
  • Build relationships between economic development staff and our local real estate community by conducting regular meetings to exchange and update information so that we are able to connect prospects to available sites.
  • Assure that our economic development website is dynamic and easy to use (e.g. information regarding incentives is easy to find, “available site” information is regularly updated and comprehensive).

 


GOAL: Work directly with the business community, cities, and other stakeholders to promote eco-tourism, recreation, sports and tourism.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Complete and implement a new TDC grant application process.
  • Target new events that generate overnight purchases in Lake County.
  • Support existing events that bring tourists to Lake County through marketing and financial support, and constantly look for new opportunities to bring tourists to Lake County (e.g. marketing, cooperation between private and public sector, cooperation between cities).
  • Identify infrastructure needs, pursue funding and completion (e.g. trail systems, sporting venues).
  • Consider conducting a “tourism” workshop and invite all partners to evaluate existing programs and facilities, and to explore opportunities for greater coordination, improved outreach, etc. 
  • Consider establishing a “Tourism” Business Retention and Expansion Program that specifically addresses the needs of existing tourism-related businesses. 

 


GOAL: Protect and improve our quality of life, and maintain the proper balance between job creation and the protection of our natural resources and unique “Lake County” character.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Identify infrastructure needs that enhance our quality of life and evaluate their financial viability, including the ongoing costs of operation and maintenance (parks, recreation, trails, sidewalks, transportation, stormwater) and prioritize projects.
  • Explore regulatory changes to encourage small, infill residential development (e.g. raise the threshold for de minimus concurrency impacts and provide waivers for infill development) that will enhance our downtown districts and urbanized areas.
  • Adopt policies that encourage the redevelopment of existing buildings and sites (e.g. evaluate “change of use” provisions to determine whether present regulations deter use of existing sites and provide for waivers and incremental site upgrades).
  • Evaluate current CRAs and their current funding allocations; consider using a “sunset provision” for CRA districts in order to protect our County-wide tax base; evaluate the potential for new CRAs as mechanism for facilitating redevelopment within Lake County.
  • Support existing CRAs within Lake County and maximize their impact.
  • Support programs and identify opportunities for improving the water quality of our lakes, rivers and waterways.

 

GOAL: Establish specific targets and track progress of our economic development efforts and programs, and maintain intensity level and sense of urgency regarding economic prosperity emphasizing the connection between government and the private sector.

ACTION PLAN:

  • Staff should establish targets and present to the BCC for discussion.
  • Staff should provide regular reports regarding economic activity, implementation of new programs, employment trends, new suggestions from businesses community, feedback, progress with cities, etc.
  • Staff should provide updates on business visits and provide County Commissioners with the opportunity to participate in visits that are related to business retention and expansion.
  • Staff should invite County Commissioners to meet with businesses prospects.
  • Staff should provide regular updates on “simplifying” the permitting process and creating a business friendly environment, including time-frames for implementation and feedback from the public and the business community.