Editorial: Economic Development

Bruce Register has worked methodically and thoroughly to gather public opinion since coming to work in January from Pinellas County as Collier’s economic development director.

He has listened to ideas on how Collier County should belatedly get into the business of seriously recruiting business beyond tourism, homebuilding and agriculture.

He has spoken of his own ideas only in broad, general outlines and goals.

When he unveiled his first set of details the other day, he was consistent.

His conservative outline calling for incentives for employers who earn them via good-paying jobs delivered on a certain timetable offered no surprises. Then again, that might be what potential employers crave from Collier, which has had its ups and downs when dealing with business issues and prospective firms.

Non-flashy and consistent need not be confused with lackadaisical.

Register emphasized the need to be competitive and realistic — in the same range as, if not better than, other communities courting the same quality economic engines.

The constructive response from individual commissioners is heartening. Rather than find fault, commissioners found opportunities for further discussion and improvement. Commissioner Tom Henning went so far as to praise the county manager, Leo Ochs, for his steady hand in the process.

A good beginning.

We look forward to further businesslike discussion when the commission meets in a workshop setting for a second hard look at Register’s outline on Tuesday.

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