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ISSUE: Millpond’s request for financing
OUR VIEW: Weigh investment against risk
The dust has settled for now on the Millpond Business Center off Kentucky 313 in Radcliff. The North Hardin Economic Development Authority’s requested $800,000 to level 40 more acres of land to attract potential industry. The Radcliff City Council authorized $475,000 following a 50/50 split of council and a tie-breaking vote from then-Mayor Sheila Enyart.
The offer served as a gesture of support but was not enough money to make bulldozers move.
While it could be looked at as being financially savvy on the part of the Radcliff council to offer slightly more than half of the requested amount, it also could be viewed in some corners as short-sighted conservatism. As Radcliff has experienced in the past with the addition of Cardinal Health, new business can boost a community in a variety of ways. From adding money to the community as an employee base to increasing the quality of life through corporate citizenship, new industry is an investment worth making and a risk worth taking.
At the same time, the health of the city’s short-term economy needs to be considered to avoid hamstringing city government financially. Just as in a personal budget, long-term investments must be weighed against short-term expenses. But as the saying goes, you have to dress for the job you want not the job you have. Radcliff and Hardin County must put on their Sunday best if we are going to be competitive in landing industries.
Perhaps this is another layer of Hardin County that needs to be looked at together and not separate any longer. The business community has spoken in favor of combining resources through a unified chamber with the government of Hardin County continuing to work in the direction of speaking with a common voice.
What if the same approach was taken with industrial foundations?
North Hardin Economic Development made the right decision in choosing not to accept the offer of the Radcliff city government at this time. A decision to spend an investment of that size should not be one made by a narrow margin or in this case a tie-breaking vote.
Working with a new administration during the budgeting process is a wise approach. To be successful and truly move forward the city council must buy in to the development plan at Millpond Business Center.
Our community has seen growth in a time when much of the nation declined in a soft economy and we have been fortunate to have the geographic advantage of our location and favorable outcomes from the U.S. Army’s base realignment. However, if we as a county are going to move to the next level, all facets including industry must come together, invest our time and resources as a community, then reap the rewards as a community.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.