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LETTER: Questions for the fiscal court about the EDA

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The recent coverage concerning the funding of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Economic Development Authority has left me very concerned and confused. I am very concerned because I feel we certainly need an entity whose primary purpose is to help attract and retain businesses in Taylorsville and Spencer County. I am confused because of the various reasons given and the methods that are being used to justify ending funding for EDA by the county.
If there are indeed compelling reasons that would justify the end of funding for EDA, then those reasons should be brought forward and appropriate action taken. However, so far I have not heard a single valid reason for not funding EDA.
What I have heard are vague and unsubstantiated remarks, with variations, that go something like “they’re not doing their job.” What does that tell anyone? It tells me absolutely nothing. I would need a lot more reason than that to make an informed decision on a matter of this importance.
There also seems to be great concern among some on fiscal court that EDA solicited a letter of support from AutoZone asking them to describe the experience they had with EDA. What in the world is wrong with that? That is a very common, accepted and encouraged business practice. AutoZone was, in a sense, a customer of EDA. Take a look at the website of virtually any service type organization, which EDA is to the businesses they work with, and you will see a button titled “testimonials” or “past clients” to show the service provided to previous customers.
To those who seem so concerned about this, I would suggest you read the letter itself and the appreciative comments made about the service EDA provided to help get AutoZone here. No one forced AutoZone executives to write that letter, and I see nothing wrong with EDA making the request.
Since the funding of EDA is such an important issue for our community, I would ask the county judge and members of fiscal court who seem so determined to do away with EDA (at least as it is currently structured) to consider the following questions before making a final decision:
What exactly are you accusing the EDA board or staff of not doing (or doing wrong)?
What have you done to convey to EDA your concerns or expectations?
Have you scheduled meetings or discussions with EDA to set goals and establish methods to measure progress made toward these goals?
Have you made an honest effort to solicit input from your constituents and business owners in the county? By this I mean getting input from a variety of people, especially those that have been involved in some way to bring business here and have actually worked with EDA and can provide you with meaningful information. If not, how can you say you’ve already made up your mind?
Do you honestly think that a non-response to your request for the resignations of each of the current county-appointed EDA board members can be construed as a lack of cooperation? What are you asking them to cooperate with?
If the EDA is not funded, or is disbanded, just what is your plan to replace them and their efforts in bringing business to our county and retaining those already here?
A magistrate favoring the elimination of funding was quoted in the Magnet as saying you have no plan. That really concerns me.
I have been a property owner/taxpayer in this county for the past 28 years and have lived in this county for more than two decades. Since I moved here, my mother, sister, both my sons, one of my daughters and one of my brothers have followed me. My wife and I own and operate a business here. We have grandkids that were born here and go to school here. All residents and business owners have made huge investments in this community.
Important decisions that can have such a huge impact on all of us need to be made in an honest, deliberate, respectful and professional manner. We should accept no less from our elected officials.
I sincerely hope that is how our judge and fiscal court, as well as the city commission, decide to proceed.
Bill Arnold
Taylorsville