According to this article, the various municipalities which make up Scott County have banded together to create an office to help businesses locate places to setup shop; either in currently available space or land which is ready to be developed. While it is certainly in the county’s and cities’ best interests to have information available for businesses looking to utilize a particular area for growth, does this work really necessitate the creation of an office to do it?
From the article:
The Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE) has created the First Stop Shop (FSS) to more efficiently assist businesses who are searching for commercial and industrial areas within Scott County. By handling all initial inquiries and searching a database, FSS employees will be able to quickly access information about available land and pad-ready sites.
The students found that businesses scouting for locations usually required a lot of information quickly, but many city employees found themselves “stretched” in their job responsibilities and accommodating businesses was not always easy. Varying degrees of assistance were provided in each of the Scott County cities.
The current contributions to SCALE will fund the First Stop Shop for the next two to three years, Davis said, but over the long term they will likely seek out grants and alternative funding.
When asked about other counties or municipalities operating with the same sort of program, those working through the details believe they are the first in the nation doing anything like this. They feel that by creating a centralized database of information which is already publicly available to everyone they’ll be able to better respond to the needs of the private sector who should really be doing this sort of work themselves through preexisting resources or by leveraging their own research. With so many in the public sector already stretched for bandwidth to respond to this sort of need, obviously the solution would be to create an entirely new office to do exactly the same thing and leverage the same resources and call it something new!
What do you think about this new plan? Do you think that it’s the job of government to provide businesses with information which many in the private sector are already collecting for themselves, many times with better quality and certainly a better understanding of evolving business needs which may not be updated as time progresses and this new department does not? What do you think the role of government plays in this sort of situation? If you aren’t a resident of Scott County, would you want to see your elected officials working towards expanding this program and even possibly funding it with tax dollars when no one else nationwide has ever done it before? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on.