Another Perspective: Economic development

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Economic Development in our community. One has to ask, why is this important element missing in our community?

What must we do to encourage economic development?

I believe there’s a methodical, well-thought-out process we must develop and implement to assist our local businesses, search out new businesses to bring to our city so as to expand growth, generate new business and create new jobs and enhance our tax base.

Creating a plan of action:

Economic development will benefit our entire community and county. NMHU, the city, county, our schools local businesses and our youth. So, why aren’t we all working together to create a clear and strong economic development plan?

We must conduct a study and decide what type of new businesses our community and infrastructure can support, which, must be low water users.

We hear the topic discussed in many circles, restaurants, city council and county commission meetings. But what exactly are we doing about it? At some point, all discussions must move forward to a plan of action and productivity. I don’t see this happening.    

Las Vegas has many valuable assets to offer our citizens and visitors. So if all this is true, why aren’t we moving forward to a higher level?

We have several organizations that are doing what they can to bring in new visitors and to promote our community’s historic culture and our surroundings. All this is good, positive activity. But what more can we do? It has to be more than just one big yearly event.

How much more could be accomplished if all organizations willingly worked together in promoting economic development in our city? Some organizations do work well together. Some don’t, according to what some tell me, and have no interest or desire in doing so. There is a strong feeling and belief with many citizens, that some won’t support some project just because it’s not his or her idea and their organization won’t get the credit. Let’s move beyond that mentality.

There’s also the competition to go after the same lodgers tax funding. Strong economic development may not happen to the degree I am talking about as long as one very important and major component is not addressed. That is the issue of water.

Next question. Why isn’t our city and county government working together to address this issue? I believe both entities should make water their number one priority.

Perhaps they are working together and we just aren’t aware of this. Why have all our major entities not joining hands to come up with workable solutions to our water issue?

We have valuable resources at Highlands University, Luna Community College, United World College, Alta Vista Hospital, New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute and New Mexico Highway Transportation Department. All these entities have highly trained and educated professionals that possess a wealth of knowledge to serve on a special commission to help draw up a workable economic development plan of action and to deal with the water issue.

We have our local banks. They are always willing and ready to support our town. After all, having a stronger local economy would be to their benefit as well.

Folks, what are we waiting for? How much longer are we going to wait, just depending on nature to provide us with plenty of rain and snow for our water?

I am a strong believer in the principle that, things just don’t happen in our lives on their own, or in our community for that matter. We choose and decide our own destiny and that of our community. And, if such a planning commission were to be established, please, for God’s sake and our own, don’t appoint a politician as president or chairman to lead this commission. My opinion is that no organization, whose goal and mission are to move our community forward, should have a politician serving as its president and main leader. That just complicates matters.

Not many are willing to talk about how much misguided politics hurts our community. We all know this to be a true fact. We either willingly choose to work together, or we will fail together.

Joseph P. Baca owns and operates the KFUN/KLVF radio stations. He may be reached at 505-425-6766.