Editorial: Set sights on diversification
January 8, 2011
With some of Craig and Moffat County’s primary industries under attack, economic diversification has never been more important. To this end, our local governments and organizations must get on the same page and work toward common goals.
Last year was not one many in natural resources would most likely care to remember.
First, our coal mines came under attack with Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act.
Next came regulations that entail Tri-State Generation & Transmission spending millions on new technology.
Although Editorial Board members are optimistic for the future of these industries that are critically important to our community, the events of 2010 certainly brought to light the necessity of developing other industries so we're not overly reliant on any one or two.
Which brings us to economic development, or more specifically, the glaring absence of a unified vision among our elected officials and agency leaders in this area.
The Editorial Board contends it's time for the Craig City Council, Moffat County Commission, Craig Chamber of Commerce, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and Moffat County Tourism Association to gather and begin strategizing.
By this, we don't mean a work session with just some of those players involved lasting an hour or two. A summit, of sorts, is a better description for what the Editorial Board is calling for.
Over the years, each of these groups has made some positive strides in economic development, and we appreciate that.
However, is there any doubt that with each of these groups all on the same page, with each pulling in the same direction toward the same end, there's a stronger chance of our community gaining more in the way of new businesses, employers, jobs and additional revenue to broaden the tax base?
There is no bigger issue for our community — or any community, for that matter — than strengthening and improving its economy. Not with the shape of things today.
Each of the groups we're asking to unify can play a key role in breaking our community out of this slumping economic time.
With a little planning and a proactive vision, our area could be among the first to do so.
Our leaders can play a big role — if they're actually the leaders they've claimed to be, that is.
The time for letting the market fix itself has past.
Unless we want our future left to the whims of lawmakers and lobbyists hundreds of miles away, unless we want to continually, year-after-year, cut budgets and burden taxpayers, it's time to get proactive, unify and, ultimately, diversify.