CRISFIELD — Fifteen months after it was created a slate of nominees announced by Mayor Barry Dize to be the first members of the Crisfield Economic Development Commission were approved Sept. 8 by the City Council during a virtual meeting.
They are Troy Brittingham Jr., Billie Chandler, Melissa Laird, Hitesh Patel and John Tawes. The mayor asked that they be accepted or rejected in their entirety and the vote was 4-2 with Vice President Eric Banks and Councilwoman Charlotte Scott voting no.
The board must include five members, but no more than nine, who live in the county and "shall be chosen according to their interest and expertise in economic development."
This advisory board is tasked with identifying and promoting economic development in the city, to include not just industry but residential development, and to encourage the retention and expansion of existing businesses. It can review proposed and existing policies or regulations that hinder development, and recommend financial incentives to foster it.
The new board will support conventions and tourism, conduct studies and surveys, develop plans to revitalize the city’s Main Street and other business corridors, and bring that information to the Mayor and Council for formal action.
Meetings will be held at least monthly and three members will constitute a quorum to transact business. An annual report will be required outlining the commission’s activities and accomplishments.
Ex-officio non-voting members according to the ordinance are the executive director of the Somerset County EDC, the president of the Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Crisfield Arts and Entertainment District, and a member of the airport advisory board.
The city manager is also a member but that position has been vacant since Rick Pollitt resigned in March 2020.
Councilwoman Scott expressed disappointment that neither of her two nominees were appointed but council members were not going to discuss individuals during the meeting broadcast over Facebook live. Council members Jimmy Ford and Casey Goldsborough both said they want to support the commission as much as possible, with Mr. Goldsborough adding that he would like to see some budget allocation so it can be involved with marketing, tourism "or however they see fit."
No date was set on when the group will hold its first meeting.