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CKNJ Editorial Board
There is no doubt that economic development is important for Campbellsville and Taylor County. We all want our community to flourish.
We aren't really sure how the most recent disagreement as to the funding and purpose of the Campbellsville/Taylor County Economic Development Authority came about, but it does bring up some important questions.
What determines whether the EDA is successful? Is success measured by the number of new jobs that come to Taylor County each year? Is it measured by the number of jobs retained? Or is it our unemployment rate?
As of now, the city contributes $100,000 to the EDA and the county $200,000. Magistrates say their constituents question whether the community is getting its money's worth. Is it feasible for EDA salaries to be based on performance, perhaps with a base pay and then bonuses at certain milestones?
We won't pretend to have the answers, but we can all agree that EDA provides a very important service to our community. We need to market our community to potential businesses looking for a place to locate.
Some magistrates recently said their constituents have questioned why the county should contribute to EDA when there haven't been many new jobs coming to the area. We know times are tough, and it's not always possible to attract new businesses to the area. Taylor County isn't located beside an interstate or railway, which isn't good news to potential companies seeking a prime location. Our local EDA has competition from every community seeking jobs.
The EDA chairman has said he is against the community giving a company money to come to Campbellsville - which would basically be buying jobs. But is that yet another strike against us when other communities offer just that?
There is land available at the Heartland Commerce and Technology Park, and EDA staff have said they aren't against giving a potential company land to locate here. However, the loan on that land currently stands at $2.1 million. If some is given to potential businesses to entice them here, someone must still pay for it.
Two City Council members, two Fiscal Court members and two EDA representatives are to form a committee to discuss these and other questions. Let's hope the group can come up with some good ideas to help EDA help us. We also hope that the issue won't "die" in committee, as some bills do in our state government.
Meanwhile, we should all look at how we can help market Taylor County. While EDA was formed to help Taylor County, we should all pitch in to help ourselves.