Bill Downs interviews Justice of the Peace Brown Hardman regarding to half-cent sales tax.

Thanks to the Clark County citizens who were foresighted enough in the special election last week to vote in favor of renewing the half-cent economic development sales tax, they have placed the county in a position to move forward on several major projects. Included in these is starting construction on the long-awaited multi-million dollar transload facility in the industrial park.
Percentage of voters for and against: In the first election in 2007, said Brown Hardman, a member of the Clark County JP Board and a leader in job-creating industrial development, there was a 69 percent “for” vote–a landslide with little opposition. Last week’s election was a 70 percent “for” vote, also a landslide that overcame a well-organized opposition.
Although there are many reasons to celebrate the renewal of the sales tax, I asked Hardman to give me in his estimation what he considers to be the top five.
The importance of incentives: To make Clark County and the surrounding area attractive for industrial prospects, it will allow for the completion of the transload facility in the Clark County Industrial Park. As has been said many times before, this is a must for this area. When completed, we will be the only transload facility between Dallas and Memphis. Transportation by rail is far less expensive than transportation by trucks. So this transload facility will allow the opportunity for more profit if manufacturers have rail access within a 50-60 mile area. The goods can be dropped off and picked up for transportation to a destination.
This facility will not only be of benefit to our existing industries, but it will be an added attraction to industries looking to locate in our area. If we want to be a serious contender for industrial growth, this is a must have! When we’re talking about incentives, this is a game-changer.
Railroad Spurs: The construction of the two spurs will be the beginning of a facility that will give industries the incentive to choose this area for locating. We know that this area has the natural resources that attract, but this facility will enhance our area to attract a wider range of industry that will put a larger number of people to work. We have wonderful businesses in this area, but with industrial job creation, existing businesses will have the opportunity to grow and expand.
Creating new jobs: With industry comes increased population. Industries will draw workers who, in turn, will invest in our communities; communities will grow; new rooftops will appear; and, new businesses will spring up. We will be an area that when new businesses are created, they will stay here rather than closing their doors when competitors come in. This can attract more people from a wider area to shop and spend their tax dollars in our county. There will always be entrepreneurs, but without population growth they come and go. We want thriving businesses and, with increased growth through industries, they can be successful.
Spread the news: The passage of this tax has spurred new life into our conversation. We all want a healthy, thriving community. This area has great medical facilities, two top universities that draw students from various areas of the nation, natural resources that are second to none, and our school systems are top rated! So, we have much for which to be grateful and I want to encourage each citizen to spread the good word. We have a lot to get excited about!
The need to get involved: With all the good news, we need to become a community that pulls together for the common good! We need to spread out and work together to enable our county and city governments to become more effective and, as citizens, to become actively involved in the process. We need those who can be leaders to step up to the plate and spur new growth in our hopes and dreams for this area. We can no longer operate in thinking the way we have in the past; we must dream new dreams and strengthen our local, county and state governments by becoming involved.
To reap the benefits that the renewal of this tax offers, every citizen of this county and surrounding area must band together and have an open conversation as to what is good for all! We have, for a long time, asked for jobs, jobs, jobs. We are now in a position to attract new jobs. Working together for the common good of all will pressure all entities to be open and transparent. Transparency in all facets of government leads to trust in the process. Our educational facilities enhance our community and we need their vast array of knowledge. What is good for one is good for the other and ultimately good for all.
Thinking outside the box and having the courage to step out into unknown territory will give us all the incentive to make our already wonderful community the “best place to call home.”
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