Living in a small county or city seems on its face to be inconsequential to the country as a whole. “We love our life, the calm, the bucolic existence. Nothing ever rises to a crisis.”
“I want to move there,” some might say. Others talk of the climate, the beaches, the this and that. But there is more to the picture, if you have an investigative mind. To assume that since you are not in the mainstream, you are unnoticed, is pure dreaming at best.
We are obligated to conform to those who only see us as a number, no questions asked. Laws demand we pay income taxes, state taxes, county taxes, local sales tax, licenses, and obey rules on everything we convey. To assume that once enacted, any demands placed upon you will remain fixed, is also delusional.
We are constantly challenged with infrastructure deterioration, educational demands placed on local districts by state or federal mandates. In our county, many were taken aback when it was decided that their septic tanks were verboten, and the personal cost of extended sewer lines is quite substantial.
Costs for such improvements, along with the need for constantly rising services are seen when purchasing food or fuel, and above all, in our taxes.
All government activity revolves around the economy. All demands from those with power tend to affect those on the periphery. We are seeing more and more disparity in income, and our educational system is not producing those most needed in those businesses where specific levels of skill or intelligence are needed. There are many complaints from local employers about the difficulty of hiring skilled personnel. We can move in the right direction with good vocational training, such as the new aircraft and power plant program commencing through Charlotte Technical College.
Many states are now experimenting with guaranteed income for certain people. Will this increase the quest for employment? Unlikely. A locale in which jobs are unavailable or not filled may well have a weak economy.
None of our economic stresses have seen any serious moves toward relief. We could benefit greatly from a push for genuine affordable housing, but that is politically difficult, given the usual NIMBY attitude. Waiting for something that will never come allows for wasted opportunity, political unrest, and illegal activity.
Many states ignore the more rural areas in favor of the more developed areas. While it is true that taxes are lower in the less productive areas, the lack of employment and the ability to pay dictates what the government can accomplish. The costs per capita goes up as population increases, which is the case in Charlotte County. Thus we need economic growth to help pay the bills.
Companies should be compensated for moving jobs to underserved areas. “Build it and they will come” is very true. Once a company moves, other satellite companies along with food service and the like, pop up. In Charlotte County, Cheney Brothers has provided great economic benefit and Allegiant Airlines certainly has brought many dollars to our economy, with more to come from SunSeeker.
New business encourages the construction of new houses on relatively cheap land and while mortgage rates are low, and as long as demands for “increased services” remains low, life can be very good. But more emergency services and roads will undoubtedly be necessary. Unfortunately, too many “plans” for growth get sidetracked with short term fixes or attempts to save money, while kicking the can down the road.
Inappropriate architecture, poor planning of transportation, failure to build on initial success is the result. We in Charlotte County are not immune from “promises made” or the worst of all, “we had to do something.” With growth, we should especially try to stay way out ahead on road building as needed.
We are in a unique position as the economy recovers. Hopefully those who make the decisions are not in a hurry, and will take the long view. “Haste makes waste.” Verstehen Sie?