Budget season is upon us and the occasion serves as a reminder of how rural communities maintain competitiveness and relevancy in a global 21st Century economy. After completing our 2011-2012 fiscal year budget for our fund for economic development, I’m reminded how important a program such as ours can help sustain and grow rural like Ord and Valley County.
Since 2003, our fund (paid for by a 1% sales tax levy) has loaned over $2.2 million dollars to over 37 small businesses. If you include our 7 facade improvement loans made (with a total of nearly $50,000 funded) since that time, VCED & the Ord Area Chamber has facilitated funding opportunities for 44 requests. Those 44 business development projects have touched every community in Valley County: Arcadia, Elyria, North Loup and Ord.
We’ve blogged before on self-determining our own future through locally controlled resources. Without our economic development fund, our region would be worse for the wear. Instead, our downtown is full of businesses, new residents are moving to our community, our school census is growing, our retail sector is growing and our community has a new future ahead of it.
We need to thank the community leadership that helped create the program in 2001, the businesses that believe and invest in our area, and most importantly, the voters that authorized the program. Community supports community and eight years later, we’re stronger for it. We define that as quantifiable progress.