County Comment: Economic development picture improves in Washington County

County Comment
Economic development picture improves in Washington County
By Sarah Lankford Sprecher
Director of Public Relations & Community Affairs

Washington County's Unemployment Rate Drops to 8.0%
Since February of 2012, over 1,000 people are back to work
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) just released figures for the month of April indicating the unemployment rate is 8.0%, down from 8.6% in March. This is excellent news for Washington County because it is the lowest unemployment figure reported since 2008. The DLLR specifies the number of people employed in the County increased by over 300 in April and the administrative support services, retail trade, and the trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities sectors are showing improvement.
Back to Work
"Washington County is excited to announce that since February of 2012, more than 1,000 people are back to work," said County Commissioner William McKinley. "We congratulate and thank small and large businesses and look forward to continued progress." To view a short video clip of Commissioner McKinley's comments on unemployment, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aMpFebIOxg.
The Board of County Commissioners, Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission (EDC) Board and staff report they have made several business visits during the past few months and will continue to take an aggressive approach in developing additional resources and incentives, like the Pad-Ready Site and High Performance Green Buildings programs. To request a visit from County officials, contact the EDC at edcinfo@hagerstownedc.org or 240-313-2280.
Permit Activity and Construction Stimulus
Permits for residential and commercial construction have also remained steady. On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners extended the Residential Stimulus Program for another year. Described as an initiative that waives excise tax fees on new residential family dwellings or additions, the Commissioners are utilizing this program to stimulate the local economy by creating jobs in the construction industry, while providing tax relief for citizens building new homes.
County Commissioners and Staff to Hold Open Business Forums in June
In cooperation with the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission (EDC), is pleased to announce a new initiative that is in progress to help better connect with local businesses.
The program, Washington County Business Forums, is designed to help provide members of Washington County's business community with an opportunity to openly discuss any concerns and share ideas for improving County services. In addition to the members of the Board of County Commissioners, representatives from the Division of Public Works, the Division of Plan Review and Permitting, the Division of Environmental Management, and the EDC will be in attendance.
All Businesses Welcome
The first Washington County Business Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2012, from 5-7 p.m., at Hancock Town Hall located on 126 West High Street in Hancock, MD. All Washington County businesses, large and small, are encouraged to attend.
The second forum in this series is a more informal gathering that will focus on Washington County's agricultural community. It will be held on Sunday, July 22, 2012, from 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. during the Ag Expo & Fair, located at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center off the Sharpsburg Pike.
More Information
Businesses should please contact the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission by calling 240-313-2280 or by email at EDCinfo@HagerstownEDC.org.