County needs all the tools it can muster

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 31, 2005

Let's pretend for a minute that Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the county's economic development group, is building a house.

He has the vision and the blueprints for a spectacular palace - if he can get the right contractors for the job. So to do that Dingus wants to get the best tools available to lure these professionals. Sounds like a good plan, right?

OK, so Dingus is not building a house but as chief of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation he is essentially building The Point industrial park. But those tools he seeks are not as tangible as a hammer or drill.

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Dingus has asked the Lawrence County Commissioners for support to add two economic development "tools" that will help attract industry to the park and create much-needed jobs.

These "tools" are the creation of a foreign-trade zone and job creation incentives.

Both are not easily understood but could greatly improve the county's appeal for potential developers.

The purpose of a foreign-trade zone is to facilitate trade and increase the global competitiveness of U.S.-based companies. It is an area within the U.S. that the Government considers outside the country and outside of the U.S. Customs territory. Certain types of merchandise can be imported without going through formal customs entry procedures or paying import duties.

Benefits of operating in a FTZ include lower inventory costs, reduced or eliminated customs duties, and distribution savings, just to name a few.

The second part of the LEDC's plan is to would give businesses in the eastern end of Lawrence County a $1,000 credit on the fee to tap into the County's sewer system for every $25,000-dollar job that is created.

We applaud Dingus and the commissioners for the creative vision to put the county in position to compete with the rest of the state and the nation. To move Lawrence County forward, this type of pro-active approach will be vital.

Why use a screwdriver to build a house if you have a drill? Why use a hammer if you have a nail gun? Break out the power tools and let's build our future.