Economic Development

There is a need for both economic and agricultural growth to lessen our reliance on property taxes. The county and towns must work together if we are to be successful in economic development. After all, if the towns thrive, the county will benefit and businesses often need the infrastructure available in the towns. In the past, while there was primary focus on residential development, Chatham County had no economic growth strategy or strategic plan. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in existence at that time was unresponsive and ineffective.

During my tenure on the Board, we restructured the EDC board, hired a new President, developed a strategic plan in cooperation with Siler City, Pittsboro, Goldston, business leaders and interested citizens, and are now embarking on plan implementation. Other new initiatives include:
  • The Board of Commissioners has been working hard to obtain funding for a project to provide wastewater capacity for Goldston in partnership with Sandford. If/when successful, the project will have the dual benefit of stimulating economic development in Goldston and providing a healthy alternative for failing septic systems. Our partners include the towns of Goldston and Sanford, plus State and Federal funding agencies.
  • Emphasis on the importance of small businesses, helping existing businesses, attracting new business and entrepreneurial activity.
  • Recognition and incubation of business clusters where Chatham County might provide competitive advantage; including agriculture, medical/pharmaceutical, arts, ecotourism, alternative energy industries, food processing and wood processing.
  • Actively seeking stimulus funds and Chatham County is now being recognized as an excellent location for green business development.
  • Working with the State and Federal government, as well as service providers, to bring broadband internet to all parts of Chatham County so businesses will have the tools needed to compete.
  • Approved 58 out of 60 business/commercial rezoning requests.
  • Strongly supported schools as a key to economic growth. We now have one of the most stable school systems in the state.
  • Helped strengthen our Community College in Pittsboro and Siler City so that they are better able to provide vocational and technical job training for Chatham residents.
  • Provided significant investment in the Siler City Business Park, host to a new hospital and new Community College building.
  • Revised the County’s incentive policy to emphasize good paying jobs and the hiring of Chatham County residents for those jobs.