I believe it’s time to address, rethink and take action for our county’s Economic Development plan. It continues to be dysfunctional and led by bureaucrats who all too often “kick the can down the road.”

We can no longer afford to stymie the future for you and me and generations to come. District 7 in Bluffton is my home, but I also serve with other council members from other districts striving to do what is best for all of Beaufort County.

During my campaign, I made a promise to myself and to you, that I would entertain every piece of evidence and suggestion about the differing economic development alliances that could benefit our county.

I did that.

I visited, called, talked with and emailed alliances from all over our state. I believe that this time of no action has been equal to lost money, your money. My recommendation: Beaufort County should join and become an active member of the Southern Carolina Alliance (SCA) made up of the counties of Bamberg, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale, Colleton, and Barnwell – wonderful and scenic places with an emphasis on industry.

Working together, with the SCA and other economic alliances within our state, we can recruit higher wage paying jobs to Beaufort County.

I view our county as an optimal area for ancillary “clean industries” that can “feed” products and services to industries that are located in adjoining counties.

With the SCA and the future Jasper Ocean Terminal (which will become the largest ocean terminal port in the Eastern USA), Beaufort County can become a hallowed ground for high tech companies in industries such as pharmaceuticals, server farms, electrical controls, solid state engineering, medical research, agricultural science, and many others.

The time is now for more discussion and more action toward bringing better jobs and more future economic development to Beaufort County.

This and many other related topics will be discussed during my time serving you as councilman.

It’s time to acknowledge that our infrastructure is fractured and must be brought up to 21st Century conditions.

We must have the conversation with our State Legislators that Beaufort County will once again be a leader, not a follower, and demand the taxes that are paid here, come back here to improve our roads, broadband fiber network, and other infrastructure.

We must have the conversation that our SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank and SCDOT system must be reformed.

The time is now for Beaufort County to act.

I look forward to continuing my job as a public servant in a new realm, as your County Councilman.

Look for news of upcoming Town Hall-style meetings and plan to attend. I want to hear from you.

Michael E. Covert represents District 7 on Beaufort County Council. He can be reached by emailing mcovert@bcgov.net.