On job creation

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It’s my hope that as members of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors considers who to hire for the position of community and economic development director vacated by Beverley Hawthorne that the position will be more geared toward job creation and growth in the county.

I’m not saying Hawthorne did a bad job, nor am I saying that community development isn’t important to the county.

What I am saying is that the county should put more priority on economic development, and now is a great time to take advantage of that through refocusing the position.

With as small of a tax base Lunenburg County has, it’s paramount to have a position that — while not 100 percent dedicated to solely recruiting businesses and industry to the county — has the level of expectation and a person with a strong skill set to foster new jobs in the county.

The greatest need, I think, the county currently has is decent-paying jobs, which, in turn, spurs many other positives for those who live, work and play here.

Additional jobs means more taxes paid to the government, increasing its tax base, allowing it to offer more funds to services, such as the school division, while not having to increase the tax rate.

More jobs brings more people eating, living and doing business in Lunenburg, which too grows the tax base of the county, allowing it to offer more services to those who live here.

County Administrator Tracy Gee has said that the real estate tax rate of .38 cent per $100 of assessed value can only be stretched so much further.

“Yes, an increase will be necessary to maintain funding levels without using reserve funds,” Gee said in a previous interview in response to if there was a forecasted potential need for any tax increase in the next five years.

A great way to avert a tax rate increase is to invest in and retool the position that’s been vacated by Hawthorne to one that has a larger focus on job recruitment and bringing industry to this county, along with helping existing businesses grow.

Jordan Miles is managing editor of The K-V Dispatch. His email address is Jordan.Miles@KVDispatch.com.