Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is forwarding legislation to the County Council for a local business preference program.
Elrich made the announcement sitting alongside County Council Vice President Sidney Katz as they wrapped up their 4Business listening tour at the Upcounty Regional Services Center, located at 12900 Middlebrook Road, in Germantown on Monday, June 10.
As drafted, the legislation proposes 10 percent preference points for businesses located in Montgomery County that are competing for County contracts.
“Government contracts are a significant part of our local economy,” said Elrich. “We want to make sure that County businesses that locate and pay taxes in the County have a fair chance to participate in County contract opportunities. We get the value and importance of Montgomery County businesses. This is a significant change from what we have been doing and that legislation will be going over to the Council very shortly.”
The 4Business listening tour crisscrossed the County as the elected officials encouraged business owners to share their experiences about opening and growing a business in Montgomery County. Their initiative, 4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business, included stops in Rockville, Bethesda, East County, Wheaton, Silver Spring and Germantown.
“We have a problem and we want you to help us solve it,” said Elrich at the Wheaton listening session. “Business as usual doesn’t serve the County well. My intent is to redevelop and improve the system we have in place now. We are going to change things.”
Input from the first listening session resulted in corrective action at the Office of Procurement after a business owner noted the solicitation was too lengthy for a small company to review. In response, the procurement office created an executive summary for each solicitation, generally a few pages, to make it easier for business owners to decide if they want to apply for a County contract.
“A business interested in a solicitation now has the ability to view a paragraph summary as well as what is typically an eight to 10 page scope of work in order to make a determination as to whether they’d like to download the full solicitation,” said Procurement Director Ash Shetty.
Although the listening sessions have wrapped up, Elrich and Katz are still listening. Business owners may submit input by sending an email to 4Business@montgomerycountymd.gov or by submitting a form posted on the 4Business website by July 31. Submissions can be anonymous via the website.
On July 22, a survey will be posted on the 4Business website and circulated to get more focused information from the Montgomery County business community. In addition, County officials will begin a benchmarking study that looks at regulations of neighboring jurisdictions and those of the County. Assembled comments and benchmarking results will help identify areas Montgomery County will address to reduce obstacles to success, build positive relations and help Montgomery County to be the best for business.
In the fall, two charrettes are planned with roundtables for community discussions and input on proposed changes resulting from the 4Business feedback.
“Last night was the final listening session for the 4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business initiative,” said Katz. “These six sessions have brought together many members of the business community who shared their concerns and sometimes their praise. With this portion of the initiative completed, it is time to focus on next steps. All of the comments have been recorded and will be thoroughly examined. Two charettes will be scheduled so that options for change can be presented and those interested can weigh in. The public record is still open. I look forward to continuing these efforts toward implementing necessary changes to make Montgomery County the best place to be the best 4Business.”
For more information about the 4Business initiative or to view transcripts from the 4Business listening tour, visit the4Business website.
File Photo by Germantown Pulse