MILTON — The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday will likely decide which firm will develop the county’s first economic development strategic plan.

This plan will set objectives and goals for the Economic Development Office along with a path to achieve them, according to Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree.

The board June 22 authorized staff to advertise for a firm to develop a plan for the county. By July 27, the county received 16 proposals.

A committee of Ogletree, Assistant County Administrator Dan Schebler, EDO Business Development Manager Tina Stewart, Director of CareerSource Escarosa Cliff Krut, and Nancy Model, with the Grants Department, reviewed the firms. They scored Garner Economics, LLC the highest of the top five.

“(Garner Economics President and CEO Jay Garner) is a known site selector and founding member of the site selectors guild, a forum of site selectors, and gives knowledge to economic developers how to best proceed,” Ogletree said during Monday’s Commission Committee meeting.

“I’m in support,” Commission Chairman Rob Williamson said. “I know people will say, ‘Why are you spending money on a plan? That’s what folks internally should be doing.’ I think you’re executing on a plan and getting results.

"For us to know the future and direct resources, it’s good to have a strategic plan to move forward.”