Us Yalobushians have got a lot of things swirling around us right now. We’ve got a county wide election this year, a grassroots effort to get Water Valley inducted into the Main Street program, a beer petition circling, a potential farmers’ market in the works, and a move to fund a countywide economic director.
These issues and happenings will effect us for many years to come.
A meeting last Thursday sponsored by the Yalobusha County Economic Development Foundation could be a monumental step in the future of Yalobusha County’s economic development.
The meeting included officials from Oakland, Water Valley, Coffeeville and the county as a whole. All of the county’s mayors were present at the meeting.
Sadly, aldermen from Water Valley, whose input could have played an important role in helping to resolve the stagnant EDF, were not present. They should have been. After all, Water Valley is the largest municipality in the county, and its citizens – taxpayers – contributed a large amount of dollars to EDF funds.
These EDF funds, totalling around $70,000, have been a source of a longstanding riff. You see, some Water Valley aldermen feel the money should be spent inside of their city.
The EDF has been ineffective since 2004, when the riff started, basically because of these concerns.
Spend it in Water Valley, or use it to springboard the push to hire an economic director – regardless of where the money originated or where it is spent, it is going to benefit the county and every municipality within its borders. It is time to put all of this in the past and look ahead to our future.
Ironically, the simple occurence of getting most county and city officials in the same room to discuss their county’s future was a strong step in the right direction. Granted, there have been similar meetings in the past, but you and I both know it’s an election year when things get done.
The EDF is not a surefire way towards shaping Yalobusha County’s economic future. Just working together will be a strong starting point for putting Yalobusha County in a position to compete in the global market that confronts everyone today.
The choices our city and county officials make over the next few months need to be sound. And the citizens – the people who haul themselves to election polls – need to know what their leaders’ thinking and reasonings are.