04/01/09 — Think ahead: County, city, towns should set sights on 'post-recession'

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Think ahead: County, city, towns should set sights on 'post-recession'

There are only so many times a day that you can hear the words "downturn" and "recession" and not start to wonder if there really is any hope that an end to the economic challenges this nation faces is anywhere near.

But rather than sitting around and waiting and wringing our hands, this could be the best time for trying to figure out how to position this county and city for the inevitable boom that will come after this bust breaks.

And fortunately, many county and city officials are already heading in that direction -- as are several other mayors and councils in towns across Wayne County.

And that is the smart way to turn the bad news on company earnings and state tax collections into a win-win, silver lining for eastern North Carolina in general and Wayne County in specific.

Now is the time to dream big and to really think what we need to plan and accomplish to take advantage of the next stage of this economic reality.

If there are infrastructure projects that could set this county up to be the next hot area when it comes to attracting new jobs and residents, now is the time to think about what it will take to get them done.

If there is some money that needs to be spent on marketing or an avenue for attracting attention to the benefits of Wayne County that we have not yet explored fully, now, while we have a little time on our hands as we wait, might be just the right moment to start thinking big.

There might be more money ahead for local and state governments as part of the federal stimulus package -- and several county and city officials are ready with their lists of priorities for the future of Wayne County -- as are their counterparts in some of the county's cities and villages.

No one should be sitting around waiting for an invitation to take advantage of free loans or money to get some necessary work done.

And residents have a role here, too.

There is no reason not to let your elected officials know what you think about what we need to do to be ready to take advantage of any bounce-back.

If you have an idea, send it to Mayor Al King or County Manager Lee Smith -- or any of the representatives on City Council or the county commission.

Might as well think positive -- it just might give us an advantage later over those who spent the last few months wallowing in the bad economic news.

Published in Editorials on April 1, 2009 11:00 AM