More bad economic news for our community this week. The Central State Hospital central kitchen will close. Approximately another 100 career jobs lost to our community. Approaching 1,000 more jobs will be lost in our community during the coming year. These are career jobs with benefits. These are career positions that support whole families and make a community grow and prosper.
Some of our local elected leaders do not understand how important businesses and jobs are to our community. I have heard more than one of our elected officials state there is nothing they can do about unemployment. Thousands of jobs lost in our community in the last few years, and what specifically have our elected leaders done to change the cliff of growing unemployment in our community? Recently, one of our local newspapers stated, for similar size Georgia counties, Baldwin County has the greatest unemployment in the state. Last week’s announcement about the Central kitchen makes that pronouncement even worse. We are a community in economic decline!
Every business and every job in our community has great value. As the jobs and businesses continue to fail or reduce operations, remaining businesses become even more important. What help do our local businesses need to survive, prosper and grow?
It is time for our five elected county commissioners, city mayor, six city council persons, and appointed leadership of both city and county to come together and determine what they can do to help our community businesses survive and prosper. It is time for both governments to listen to our business community and become a partner in their success. Their success is an absolute necessity to the survival of our community.
Our elected leaders must start leading our community back to prosperity by partnering with our community businesses. It is essential our officials to consider all issues that may hinder the progress of our business community. Our officials must listen to our business leaders and ensure our local government business environment encourages growth, does not hinder the creation of new local start up businesses, and supports Baldwin County and Milledgeville to become a destination of choice for businesses from outside our community. Many have heard, “it takes a job, to get a job.” It is also easy to understand, “it takes a business, to get a new business!”
We cannot wait any longer for our local governments to become a partner with our local businesses. I propose a Milledgeville/Baldwin County Economic Summit. It should be attended by every elected leader in our city and county. This summit is so important, it should occur in the next 30 days. It’s time for our leaders to listen. It’s time for our leaders to act. Time to start doing something tangible about saving our community for our children and grandchildren. Our community will prosper, or decline, based on the health of our local business community.
Henry R. Craig, Baldwin County Commissioner. Contact Mr. Craig at email@example.com.