Economic development is key to any community’s survival

Economic development is key to any community’s survival 

Commentary
Fred Arnold – Telescope Publisher
www.thebellevilletelescope.com

To say that last week’s story in the Telescope regarding economic development caused a stir is an understatement.

Though appearing on “inside pages” the story line was that Belleville councilman Dr. Roger McCartney questioned if the city was getting (basically) their bang for the buck on investment into Republic County Economic Development.

We have had a lot of calls, messages, and comments regarding the story.

The Telescope is a staunch supporter of local and area economic development efforts. Jenny Russell, Luke Mahin, the RCED board and others who donate their time are doing great things in Republic County.

Though quantifying the benefits versus investment may not always be an easy thing to do if your county or community does not have someone or some group out stumping for you, you will be lost in the dust and left behind.

But to be fair, Dr. McCartney with his query did not say he was against economic development. He merely asked a question and wondered what the city got for their quarterly payment of $6,500. And it’s a fair question.

We would expect anyone who is charged with minding the taxpayers’ monies to have a proper accounting of where the money goes. That is good stewardship. I suspect RCED officials will give a great presentation regarding this at the next meeting.

I’ve personally been involved in economic development for a lot of years; going on four decades in fact.

And there’s two things I know:

  1. Without a local economic development effort, you will die. Some other community is always out there trying to take what you have or get something you want.
  2. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to get a prince. Not every effort is a home run.

I actually glean a lot of wisdom from Dr. McCartney. Staunch in his support for the police department he has been quoted as saying, “By the time you need a police department it is too late.”

That same exact thing can also be said in speaking on behalf of economic development efforts.