Thursday, November 30, 2006

County Economic Summit Planned

County Economic Summit Planned
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

A first collaborative approach to economic development in Solano County is in the works.

Called the Solano Economic Summit, the event will bring together a variety of county and city leaders and members of the business community.

"We hope to discuss an economic vision and direction for the county and identify potential niche markets that maybe we could promote more than we are," said Jim Fiack, a senior management analyst with the Solano County Administrator's Office. "We're trying to coordinate strategies between cities."

Officials hope to establish countywide goals by the end of the day-long event - to be held in early 2007 - that will be incorporated into the county's strategic plan.

"There are seven unique cities and they all bring something to the table," said Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez, noting that the county lacks the kind of economic development plan that many of its individual cities already have in place. "We want to be able to articulate a Solano County story."

The county has hired a facilitator to oversee everything from the organization of the event to a summary report of its accomplishments.

In preparing for the event, the firm acting as facilitator will identify and provide five relevant case studies to illustrate how economic development can be coordinated at a county or regional level without creating a separate bureaucracy.

The firm will also prepare PowerPoint presentations to be used as back- ground and serve as a foundation for discussion.

While the symposium is still weeks away, the county has established an advisory committee to help identify speakers and define objectives, issues and the structure for the event.

"We're looking at everything from housing to heavy industry and what Solano wants to do in those kinds of areas," Vasquez said. "We're looking to increase jobs so more people can work and live here."

Participants in the symposium will also consider how the county can help each of its cities, and how all jurisdictions can work together more closely to develop the local economy.

"The bigger question is if the cities want our help, and if so, what that would be," Vasquez said.

Erin Pursell can be reached at

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