To the editor:
In his recent column, Mayor Matthew Block does what politicians so often do, take a complex problem and propose a simplistic solution.
First, people choose to live in a particular location for a variety of reasons. It may be that they want good schools for their children. Or perhaps it is the cultural opportunities. It may be that they decide to commute rather than up root their family.
Even though the mayor seems to think that the heads of government, the hospital CEO, the school superintendent and etc. can have a significant effect on this, they cannot. Also, we should note that this goes both ways. There are people who live in Scotland County but work in the adjacent counties. I know, I’m one of them.
As he winds up his column, the mayor begins to “ride his hobby horse.” He lists a series of projects such as a “scotch micro brewery”, an “African American Museum” and an “early college building” that would be better investments than a new city hall. I do not live in the city and have no opinion on the city hall proposal, but I cannot see how these expenditures will cause people to decide to live here. More important, I don’t see a payoff in what we really need here, jobs.
The mayor looks to Moore County as an example, but I am not sure that this an example that we want to emulate. I recently heard Moore County described as an hour glass, having a large number of well to do people at the top, a large number of low income people at the bottom and a small middle class in between. I believe that we need a strong and growing middle class. The only way that we will obtain this is by attracting and retaining new industry. Industry will provide a base of steady, good paying jobs. Industry will also provide tax dollars that our local government desperately needs. The wages paid by industry will be spent in local stores, restaraunts, doctors offices etc. New jobs will also allow us to retain people who currently live here and attract new people to the area.
The bottom line is that we need to develop and implement a development plan that will attract and retain new jobs. This plan should be developed taking into account ideas and concerns of the various stakeholders in the county.