AP NEWS

Economic development and Columbus

February 24, 2019

Much of the growth and success of Columbus can be tied directly to economic development. From the businessmen of the 1940s who were instrumental in bringing companies like Becton Dickinson to Columbus to today’s leaders who are working to bring more business and retain existing business.

So much of the vitality that we see in our community can be tied directly to economic development. And we can be proud that we have it. We’re even being pioneers in this area. Loup Power taking the initiative, years ago, to staff an economic development position has been huge. Add to this the City putting a ballot question to the people asking them to financially support economic development, which they resoundingly favored. All of this speaks to the success we have had.

So often people think of the new big company that might be coming to town. Yes, those are important and big economic development success stories. But economic development touches much more. It might be the expansion of a facility that adds a few new jobs. It might be the purchase of a new piece of equipment to modernize and add a few jobs. It might be a low-interest loan that when paid back can get used again for another project.

All of this fuels the continued growth of our community. Because of this, we must be proactive and be a place where new workers want to live and raise a family. We must modernize our Waste Water Treatment Plant to handle the needs of new business and new families. We must build and upgrade the streets to handle the traffic we residents require to call Columbus home.

We cannot be complacent when it comes to economic development. We must continue to use the tools that are available and incorporate new and exciting tools such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

We have been used as an example of success by many. But now many are copying our blueprint. The playing field for attracting and keeping business is getting very competitive. But we must stay the course and stay aggressive. We cannot rest.

Our history is a proud testament to the success of economic development. Columbus will continue to take advantage of the tools available and grow. We have a proven track record and we have great people guiding the process today and into the future.

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus.