The county has been watching its budget
tighten for several years, as expenses increase and revenues
decrease, and is now faced with the possibility of layoffs and
reduced services next year.
This will continue to happen until
we make a concerted effort to change it. "We have to invest in this
community," Orr said.
The partnership's first goal is to
attain more jobs and job retention. It is the way of our future in
Logan County, according Orr.
Next come GIS development and
comprehensive planning. These two work hand-in-hand to market
us to the world. Whether it is residential, business, industry or
commercial development, anyone looking at us can get a quick view of
all we have to offer if these things are in place. We are behind
other communities that have their geographic information systems
Several political factors have come
into play against us, Orr said. We are a Republican county. The
state is in serious financial straits. There are federal funds
available in grants but we cannot qualify for most of those, as they
require an up-to-date, comprehensive plan, Orr said.
Our comprehensive plan is over 30
years old with few updates done to it. That puts us at a
disadvantage to other communities in several ways. Areas of the
community and county need to be planned by types of development,
such as residential, industrial, agricultural and commercial zoning.
With that done it is much easier to
approve developments and to plan and finance infrastructure, such as
roads and sewers, to these areas. Such planning not only speeds
development, but also everyone is happier with their neighbors that
are living or working next to them.
We have to be ready to provide
information for site development when we get calls from interested
developers and potential employers. We need tax structures and
incentives to offer them. When companies call they want answers in
24 to 48 hours, Orr said. We are not ready when companies contact us
because there are no advance preparations.
Lincoln and many towns throughout
Logan County are prime locations for economic development. With
hundreds of acres available to develop, we can still maintain our
agriculture and farm community living style. We could attract
warehouse distribution and other non-offensive industries. We need
to look for opportunities to expand our agriculture-related
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Disadvantages Logan County faces in competition for development
- No sites developed.
- Other communities have sites
ready to go.
- No up-to-date, comprehensive plan
- Getting zoning approval,
infrastructure in place is too much effort and time-consuming when
other communities have this done already.
Logan County has going for it
- Great transportation through rail
and highway access.
- Accessible, diverse work force.
- Outstanding, easily accessible
health care system.
- Good schools.
- Land for development.
Downtown Lincoln is alive and more
attractive than most communities our size, with storefronts mostly
full, streets beautifully paved. The same can be said of other
nearby communities like Elkhart and Mount Pulaski.
"We have something that people would like to live in," Orr said.
Full cooperation of the county and
We all need to work together. Logan
County is too small to have factions.
We need to look to the future of our
children. Hopefully we can create jobs here for them so that when
they graduate from high school and college they can buy a home here
"This board is more responsive and
proactive than in years past," Orr said, expressing his
"I realize you are facing severe and
significant budget constraints," he said. "You have got to solve the
problem. The only way out is to grow yourself out through jobs and
economic development. Invest what you have; you have to invest in
The airport and farm committee
recommended last Tuesday that if there is no other means of raising
the funds, a portion of the sale of the county farm could be used
toward economic development.
Finance chairman Chuck Ruben made a
motion that showed approval by applause to support the economic
development efforts by Rob Orr and the development partnership.