I love working in Marshall County. I meet interesting people every day. Some of the scenery is truly beautiful. If I had the means, I would live on the lake and be on my dock every day, watching birds.
But I’ve noticed a problem. Marshall County’s growth seems to have grown stagnant. Josh Tubbs at economic development has done a great job preserving existing businesses. It seems like the only new businesses, however, are retail and fast food.
Tubbs was right when he told the Marshall Fiscal Court the county needs an industrial park. With a county-owned park, he can offer perspective businesses a tract of property without an owner inflating the value for a quick profit. Furthermore, if county or municipal government retains ownership, it can lease the property to a business. This arrangement gives the business relief from property tax. It makes a heck of an incentive to offer a business land, and in some cases, even a plant, where they get a break from property tax.
Without an industrial park, economic development has no additional incentive to offer beyond industrial development bonds. All 120 counties in Kentucky have access to them.
Plans exist to buy the old Fleetwood factory, yet it remains in foreclosure. That is a great building that could be offered to a manufacturer looking to build just about anything.
The county is doing what it can with what it has, but it’s time to make the next step to bring some new jobs to the county.
On lakeside regulations:
Then we have existing businesses like campgrounds that are suffering under TVA regulations. They are losing business because of new rules on length of stay and what business owners feel to be excessive rates. When business is lost, operators have to reduce expenses. Employees get let go. Some businesses may even close.
I understand rules wanting to give access to public lands to all, but these campgrounds are not used by weekend campers. Their business paradigm depends on long-term camping. So do nearby stores, bait shops and restaurants. Relief needs to come from the federal level.
We’ve seen the Army Corps of Engineers attempt to restrict fishing to in the tail waters of Barkley Dam. Many people I’ve spoken to expect the TVA to follow suit at Kentucky Dam. Judge-executives in counties affected by the Barkley closure say they are losing business with the restriction.
Federal lawmakers have introduced “freedom to fish” legislation to protect tail water fishing. It doesn’t seem like it should be necessary to introduce a bill that would defend a campground operator’s livelihood.