Stimulate economy here first

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The high hopes county officials had in January for the government’s economic stimulus package have been dampened, as Butler County is likely to receive very little money for roads and infrastructure from the $825 billion in federal funding. Butler County commissioners and the county’s engineering department were dealt rumors that rural roads would be a top priority if – and when – Congress passed the stimulus, designed to kick start the nation’s economy out of its current recession. However, county engineer Dennis McCall indicated to commissioners on Thursday that small, rural counties like Butler County will receive between $300,000 and $600,000 in federal funding, not hardly enough to deal with the rapid deterioration of the county’s roadways.

The message this sends is a simple one: The only people that are going to maintain the prosperity of Greenville and Butler County are the people of Greenville and Butler County. Waiting on the federal government is a mistake, and while any amount of federal money is beneficial to the county and municipalities in which we live, it is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the local sales and property tax we invest in Butler County. Those taxes do not solve the road problem, but they do maintain and keep the city and county services we’ve all come to depend on. From the police force to the fire department; from the sheriff’s office to the garbage trucks; from the road department to the water and sewage systems. We are the financial backbone of the places we live. By not shopping locally, we handcuff our county and city officials when it comes to having the necessary money to provide services for us, the citizens.

Francine Wasden, Executive Director for the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the message should be clear:

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“Shop local,” she said in the Chamber’s March newsletter. “This keeps our local economy working.”

Greenville’s economy has weathered the recent economic storm, because of its people and steady sales tax receipts. Not only does buying locally help the economy, it also helps our area small businesses continue to operate and prosper.

There’s no question: Stimulating the economy should start here first.