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One on One with Economic Development

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By Tim Reavis, on July 13, 2012

I sat down with Kyle Haney, MPA Intern for Orange County’s Economic Development Department, to discuss what he’s learning this summer.

Tim Reavis: What are you working on this summer?

Kyle Haney:  The biggest project I’m working on is reviewing Orange County’s  2005- 2010 economic development strategic plan. I’m interested in what parts are still relevant, what was a success, and what needs to be changed.

TR: What have you learned from looking at the plan?

KH: One of the goals was to extend water and sewer coverage so land that is located in prime areas for development will become a viable option for new businesses. With expanded water and sewer, it’ll be easier to attract more developers. Also, in 2005 only 40% of Orange County residents worked within the county. The other 60% commuted to other counties. This is a problem. Goal for the 05-10 plan was to increase the percentage of residents that worked inside the county.

TR: How did those goals turnout?

KH: Unfortunately, there was only mild improvement.  The County still has work to do. The percentage of residents working elsewhere is still too high.

TR: Do you like Orange County’s chances of being able to increase the percentage?

KH: I’m optimistic. I’ve had the chance to help the department recruit businesses to the area. From what I’ve seen, there are  potential new businesses out there that are open to Orange County. If we can get those outside businesses to come, we’ll be able to keep more residents staying in the county for work.

TR: What else have you learned this summer?

KH: Orange County is big on sustainable development (building from existing resources within instead of focusing on recruiting new industry to move in). Its a value that residents of the county have. I’d go as far to say that more residents value sustainable development in Orange County than in other counties.  There is a balance that needs to be struck between the two because the County has impoverished people that need the industrial jobs. The department handles the dilemma  well, but it certainly isn’t easy.

TR: Thanks for your time.

KH: Thank you, good sir.

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