March 8, 2023
Board of Supervisors
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329.
San Rafael, CA 94903
Re: Request for Economic Vitality Point of Contact within the County
Dear President Moulton- Peters, Supervisors and Mr. Hymel:
Keep Marin Working (KMW) is a collaborative between a number of large Marin organizations with the purpose to coordinate and strengthen the voice of business throughout the county and to take positions to create a more business-friendly climate. We thank you for your continued work on the economic recovery efforts including the newly approved Economic Vitality Strategic Plan.
Your adoption of that plan reflects the County’s understanding that economic resiliency is important to the County’s future in terms of a strong economy funding the county’s coffers and providing for the economic sustainability of the county’s residents. In looking at the implementation of the County’s expressed goals in the plan and in the County’s commitment to the four“Es” – environment, education, economy and equity, KMW has identified a need that would help achieve those goals. We request that the County create a staff position who can serve as the point person to lead the County’s economic vitality efforts.
Possible functions for this position could be to help retain local businesses and help them grow in Marin, develop business retention, promotion, and expansion services, in coordination with local Marin cities. Create collaborations with County divisions including community development, public health, Digital Marin, and Marin cultural arts to advance local economic vitality and workforce development initiatives with metrics. This position could also track Marin’s industry performance and help understand where opportunities for growth and workforce development could occur.
The County is at a disadvantage to fully serve its constituents because this position does not exist. The absence of these functions became evident during the pandemic response when the economy and the county’s businesses were reeling in trying to address the crisis. While the County’s quick mobilization of staff was commendable, other counties with economic development staff were ahead of Marin in terms of providing information and resources for the local business community. This person while serving as a source of economic competitive leadership, would play a crucial role in the economic vitality of the County and would collaborate with local and regional partners in the expansion, retention, and attraction of businesses in Marin County. They would also provide a critical communication bridge between the County and cities, Chamber of Commerce’s, and business organizations to support and provide resources for the small, medium, and large businesses in the county. This position would work across other County departments to enhance the economic component of the program (Exp; housing, childcare, workforce training, diversity). KMW also believes that it is the perfect time to create this position due to the recently adopted Economic Vitality Strategic Plan to help guide the County and its partners through its recommendations, namely Flagship Initiative #5 “Formalize Countywide Economic Development Activities”, as well as assist in navigating the continuing economic uncertainty we face.
The County of Marin continues to be a desired location for both small and large employers. As businesses need assistance for growth, relocation, or establishment it is imperative to have resources available to them to ensure support. It would be the intended goal of KMW to have this individual/department work in collaboration with other business entities; Chambers of Commerce’s, business organizations, and City Economic Developments to provide aid and direction for business success. Other Cities within Marin have economic development departments (San Rafael, Novato, etc.) that provide these types of services and a county level individual with a strong economic development background would ensure that all jurisdictions have the support they need to manage their local economies.
Keep Marin Working is grateful for its relationship with the County of Marin and will continue to help drive the economic success of the region. The County plays a vital role in this equation, and we hope that we can work together to help support this role. We urge you to consider this request and welcome the opportunity to meet in person to discuss further.
Keep Marin Working
Marin Association of REALTORS
Marin Small Business Development Center
President and CEO
San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
Marin Builders Association
President and CEO
North Bay Leadership Council
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin
Novato Chamber of Commerce
Marin Economic Forum