President's Corner

Tommy Lyon

Tommy Lyon

Counties Help Make Georgia #1

For the fourth consecutive year, our great state of Georgia has been acknowledged as the best state in the nation to do business. This is a distinguished honor that has been bestowed upon us in which we have our state leaders, particularly Gov. Nathan Deal, to thank. In addition to acknowledging the admirable leadership at the state level, we must also acknowledge each other as county officials for this distinction. Each county has something to offer and something for which it can be celebrated. As county leaders, we must be the champions of our local communities in effort to help Georgia grow. The success of the state is dependent on a government that functions well at every level – down to the core of county government.

When many think about economic development, they often only consider the state’s role in attracting and acquiring new businesses that grow Georgia. However, one must remember that the entire state is made up smaller communities that make it whole. Counties play a significant role in economic development as they are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the local communities in which the businesses are located. All of the essential services that counties provide to their constituents are things that are considered when a business prospect is determining whether or not they want to move their operations to certain areas. Businesses are led and maintained by people who have expectations for the quality of life offered to their families, and the essential services that we as local elected officials are responsible for contribute greatly to one’s quality of life. For instance, access to health care is vitally important and is one of the critical factors that help lure and secure prospects. Understanding access to health care is a complex issue for many counties, we should view the challenge as an opportunity to be innovative and to think strategically by garnering the participation and support of key players to solve a major issue for the community. Such collaboration can provide prospects with a solid example of how local leaders work together for the overall good.

Education is often viewed as a determining factor as well. It is an indicator of the qualified workforce that will be employed by the new businesses. The educational aspect is dynamic. It could present opportunities for local high schools to provide new programs to students that can train them on skills needed to work in the new industries. That would be beneficial to the county as it could result in a more highly trained and skilled workforce making it more appealing to prospects. It could also decrease chances of constituents relocating elsewhere for job opportunities.

As many other facets of governance are heavily dependent upon the collaboration and communication between its various entities, economic development is no different. The success of our local communities is a reflection of the work between the county, its municipalities, local school systems, and other authorities to foster productive environments. Working together to develop a culture that is conducive for growth and development – one that will help sustain growth once acquired – is vital. Support from all players involved shows that we all have the same goal of improving the community for our constituents while making our counties, and ultimately Georgia, the preferred places to live, work, and play. Let’s work together in our respective communities to continue to make Georgia number one.