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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Economic development gets boost from county

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors made the right decision in restructuring positions to allow for a full-time economic development director. With that move, Mike Burnette, who has been overseeing economic development on a part-time basis, will give that position his full-time effort. His other current position as head of parks and recreation will be turned over to another person, who has yet to be hired. No extra funding will be needed for the change.

This move has long been needed and was recommended by the county's Economic Development Advisory Committee, which has been meeting and creating suggestions for the county. The committee is made up of a cross-section of county residents, including many business leaders.

Being competitive in economic development has always been difficult, and the recession has made the job even tougher. Most of the other jurisdictions in the region have at least one full-time position devoted to economic development; some have several. That has left Franklin County struggling to keep up. Fortunately, the county has fared well and certainly has the potential to do much better with a person on the job full time.

The goal here, of course, is to create jobs. That is a necessity if the economy is going to get moving again. Competition for those jobs is fierce, requiring a substantial effort from the county.

Franklin County has been aggressive, trying to be proactive, not reactive. Funds have been set aside every year for promotions and incentives. Economic development efforts continue to be stepped up, and that is a wise course of action to take, with a full-time director at the top of the agenda.

We simply cannot afford to sit back and wait anything out. Going after jobs is crucial, and we are indeed fortunate to have a beautiful county and solid workforce (as well as a workforce development program at The Franklin Center) to present to prospective business and industry leaders.

We urge the board of supervisors to also follow the recommendation of the advisory committee on industrial sites. Time can be a factor in the choice of many industries, and having a site available often makes the difference.

This is a great place to work and live, but it has to be heavily promoted. Having a person doing that on a full-time basis is certainly a positive step forward.

 
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