Fiscal court discusses economic development
Published 11:17 am Thursday, July 27, 2023
Part 3 in a series
BY LANCE GAITHER
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Economic development affects every resident of Boyle County, and Judge-Executive Trille Bottom and magistrates Jason Cullen and Jamey Gay recently discussed the progress the current fiscal court is making in this arena.
Bottom said that the court and Danville city government are looking for the ideal place to build affordable housing.
“Lack of affordable housing continues to be a problem,” Bottom said. “We are in conversations with the city to find the best place to have affordable housing. If we want to bring new business and industry to the county we have to have housing for the workers. It is a crucial issue we are continuing to work on.”
She hopes to reinvigorate tourism to Constitution Square.
“We have been approved the Heritage Council to make significant improvements,” Bottom said. “We are looking to replace the roofs for the buildings, the gutters, some of the logs on the cabins that have rotted. We are going to painting and sprucing up the part. Over the next couple of years we want it to become a tourist destination. It is the place where Kentucky’s history began, it is very important historically.”
Commissioner Gay reiterated the importance of having affordable housing to bring in economic development, but said that it isn’t an easy issue to solve.
“It is a complicated issue,” Gay said. “You can’t wave a magic wand and fix it. It takes a lot of work. You have to find the land and the developers to take the risk and build affordable housing. It is a community wide effort.”
Gay explained that so far most of the fiscal court’s attention has been on the budget for the county but the court have ensured that the county is offering good wages for county employees.
“Economic development is a marathon and not a sprint,” Gay said. “We are still in transition with our new economic development entity. We are officially into our new budget year. We have made a lot of progress into having competitive wages. We may not be the highest but we aren’t the lowest. We want to attract and retain our employees. I’m proud to say we now offer our employees full paid health insurance, which has long been a disadvantage for us compared to other nearby government entities. That is a huge accomplishment.”
Cullen explained that is hard to define affordable housing but believes multi-family housing must play a role in providing housing.
“Not everybody in younger generations wants a big house with a big yard,” Cullen said. “They like stepping into a multi-family home. You can have really nice multi-family homes. I have seen some that are nicer than my current home.”
Cullen believes a focus needs to be on brining in high quality jobs.
“We have to work on our economic development to have good-paying jobs, not jobs that require a master’s degree.
“I have always been a critic of saying we have a great new restaurant in town. Those jobs don’t pay. That isn’t an economic-development win. We have to have good paying jobs. We have had factory jobs for a while, the tele-health company we have is a good way to work your way up to better paying jobs.”