Seventh In A Series Of 12 Articles
By Jim Holton, Consultant,
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Audio Programs by Jim Holton about Economic Development.
Click Here for the WRVK Audio Programs by Jim Holton about Economic Development.
I hope you are aware that the Rockcastle County School System is one of the strongest in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Certainly, this is a source of pride as those in charge of the education of our young people are helping to develop their young minds for the many challenges of either work in the real world or continuing their education in college. What are the hopes and dreams of these young people? Many might want to continue to live in Rockcastle County but the opportunity for their career choice (apart from education or health care) just does not exist. Ultimately, if these young people have no hope other than a minimum wage job, how can we hope that they would want to stay?
The population of our community might not be a subject that you have really given very much thought. The reality of the situation is that our population in Rockcastle County has been stable to declining in recent years. The reason is simple, there is no significant community economic development opportunities occurring in our county to give the young people a chance to return to Rockcastle County. Also, those who are of an adult age who have grown up in the county might now be married and have children. And, for those families, a minimum wage job will just not meet the needs of their families. Many of those Rockcastle County residents are relocating to other counties in Kentucky or other states seeking employment opportunities to take care of their families. Finally, there are people who still live in Rockcastle County but daily drive to other communities in the region for employment because the jobs do not exist here.
In order for Rockcastle County to grow our population, we must be committed to community economic development. As you will remember, we said the definition of community economic development is, “creating an environment in a community which promotes investment by businesses inside and outside of the community that stimulates growth and creates jobs.” This environment must exist and prevail for us to grow our population. For existing business and industry to grow and create new jobs, we must provide them the support needed for job retention and expansion to occur. For new business and industry development to occur, we must ensure we are developing the infrastructure recruiting tools needed to attract those businesses to our community. As new companies locate, new people move into the community with those businesses. Also, people relocate from other counties in Kentucky and other states to take positions with those businesses. When those people move into the community they buy homes, they send their children to the school system, they buy goods and services, they use the infrastructure and they help pay taxes to help fund growth.
Does the growth of our population and our community happen overnight? No. But because the growth of our population does not happen overnight is even more the reason that we support our volunteer and elected leadership to do what is needed to create the environment for community economic development to occur in Rockcastle County. The sooner we begin to build the resources necessary to achieve success, the sooner we and our children begin to benefit from the fruits of our labor. We must understand that the growth of our population can only be realized if we are committed to helping make it happen through our financial investment in the future of Rockcastle County through payment of taxes necessary to fund that growth. If you think taxes are a bad thing and that we already pay enough taxes, just think about what it would be like if our elected leadership had no taxes to pay for the services you expect them to provide you as a resident of this county. And, the more residents we have in this county, the more services everyone can enjoy. Finally, a growing population in a community helps existing and prospective companies see that our county is one committed to the long-term stability of our economy and the people who live in Rockcastle County.