Among the joys of the job of county supervisor that both of us, as the board’s newest members, have experienced, is the opportunity to provide leadership for issues of great importance to our community.
That is why we have joined forces to co-chair an effort to create for our county an economic development strategy.
As we approach the launch of the project, we thought it useful to provide some insight as to why we think such a venture is of great value to all citizens in our community while also touching on some key elements.
Right away we should make clear that this is not a response to our nation’s recession, nor is it meant to be an effort that will lessen its local impact in any immediate way. We are looking toward the future, looking to have drawn for us a blueprint and an accompanying set of pragmatic implementing actions that can enhance our county’s overall prosperity.
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If there is one underlying principle it is this: To sustain our county’s superb quality of life, we need a stronger, more diverse and more creative local economy.
We need more well-paying jobs in a variety of professions. We need to better utilize and connect with the unique assets of talent and knowledge that already exist here. And we need to foster a business-friendly climate and an adaptive mind-set that will aid current and future employers in retention, expansion and competition.
These needs have become increasingly apparent as the public sector — the main source of our head-of-household jobs — continues to shrink and contract in our county as well as in the state.
Add to this an aging population, our high cost of living and a citizenry that remains committed to robust social and environmental values, and the necessity of creating greater economic opportunities should be clear.
Whether you are a retiree or a student, an employer or an employee, an entrepreneur or a retailer, you should desire for our community a healthy growth of business activity. Everyone’s interests are served when there is more revenue, more resources and more innovation.
Doing nothing and merely hoping that public and private coffers will fill again is not what the future demands from its current leaders.
Over the next year, greater details on this project will emerge, as the formation of committees and working groups takes place, and ultimately the presentation of a specific overall assessment and a plan of action at a public summit.
So for now, it is our hope that you will look forward to, or, if called upon, directly assist this effort to create an economic development strategy for our county.
While we can understand healthy skepticism from all sides, it is our sincere desire that you will see our joint commitment as county supervisors, and the partnership between the public and private sectors, as positive signs of what might be possible when we work together.
Adam Hill represents the 3rd District and Frank Mecham represents the 1st District on the county Board of Supervisors.