MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Economic groups combine forces

BLUE BELL Montgomery County announced a sweeping merger designed to put all of its public and private economic-development efforts under one roof.

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. - a private board that administers state grants - will be dissolved and its operations reconstituted within the county Commerce Department.

The department will take on the economic-development agency's executive director, David Niles, its staff and operations, and will offer membership to all of its existing business members.

According to a county news release announcing the agreement, funding will initially come from the economic-development corporation, and "the operations will not add to the county's expenses or add liabilities to the county's balance sheet."

The new arrangement will eliminate some duplications and competition between the previous public and private agencies, county Board of Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro said. "The MCEDC and the county have not historically worked together in a coordinated fashion," its chairman, Richard Young, said.

After meeting with county officials and discussing ways to work together, Young said, the board determined merging was "the best way to ensure the continuity and sustainability of our programs and to secure significant benefits for our members and the corporate community in general."

"Montgomery County now has one vision, one brand, and one entry point for businesses to access vital resources," Shapiro said. - Jessica Parks