I went to start my new blog entry and I realized that I have not posted since late May. Where did June go?! There has been so much going on, I really want to just do a little update on a few topics.
I wanted to start by taking some time to talk about Larry Berry. I have always said that I have a very unique position because my job is a cooperation between multiple governments. So, I guess that means that in a way I have a lot of bosses? From day one it has never felt that way to me though, especially with the commissioners. I considered Larry a colleague and in the 10 months I knew him he never once doubted me and always had my back 100%. He was in the group of people that hired me and he was a great person to have by my side.
I guess the whole situation did not hit me until I walked into the commissioner’s office for the first time since the accident. It was just a normal day where I would stop by to fill them in on everything that is going on and get caught up. It did not feel like a normal day though, because Larry was not there. I am very appreciative and have great respect for all three commissioners because they have gone out of their way to make sure that my husband and I were welcomed into this community. Since I am new to the area though, I did not know Larry as well as most. I have enjoyed hearing about him the last week and finding out everything he was involved in and how much he truly loved his family. Every community needs more people like Larry Berry, the type of people that will do anything for anybody when they need it, and work endlessly towards making their community a better place. Over the next few months it will be an adjustment for everybody not seeing him at board meetings, Rotary Club, or even sporting events, but for me it will be walking into that office and him not being there. He was a great guy and I wish I had gotten to know him longer than 10 months.
¾ Cent Transportation Sales Tax
The end of May meant finishing the prioritization process for the ¾ cent transportation sales tax. This has been a long process with hard work from a lot of different people, so the end result has been that much more rewarding. The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission officially approved the final transportation project list on Wednesday, July 9. The final list can be viewed here:
You can see that if this tax does pass, Bates County will get quite a few projects! While these projects are great, there is more to Amendment 7 than that. That website above is one of the best sources to get the FACTS about this sales tax. The election is August 5, which is less than a month away, so it is important that this information gets passed around. Whether you are for or against Amendment 7 does not matter, what matters is that people go vote and know what they are voting for.
June was a month full of writing applications for various different possible projects. While I cannot go into a lot of detail about these possible opportunities, I can tell you that there are a lot of people working hard towards one goal, and that is improving Bates County. There is one project in particular where I had 10 days from the initial meeting until the application was due. In order for there to be even a possibility to get the application completed there had to be multiple parties agree to be part of it. By the time I submitted the application 9 different parties agreed to assist with the project and it was amazing how much got done in such a short period of time. One of the great assets that Bates County has is willingness to work cohesively towards one goal!
Conferences and Training
In June I also attended a few economic development events, including the Missouri Economic Development Council’s (MEDC) Annual Conference and an Advanced Economic Development Training held by Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission (KBRPC). Economic development, like so many other fields, is one that is constantly changing, so conferences like the ones held by MEDC are very informative and educational. The Advanced Economic Development Training that was held by KBRPC had an amazing turnout and the speakers did a great job. What I really enjoyed about this training was how people got to see in detail all the different aspects in economic development and how it can be used in their communities.
Random Final Notes
Then there are a few more small items, the first of which is that the Butler Comprehensive Plan process has officially started. We have put together a Vision Committee to assist me and I really believe we have found a great group of people! We are planning our first community event, so in the upcoming months you should expect to see me writing more about that. Second, I am working with individual landowners and businesses to figure out their needs and assist them however I can. If you ever have any ideas for starting a business, expanding your business, or anything else please feel free to call me. In general, if I cannot assist you myself, I can at least help you find somebody who can.
As you can see, my job can at times be all over the place, but that is the way I like it. I put everything I have into every one of these projects and I am very proud of the work that is getting done in Bates County. We will not get every grant we apply for and will not be finalists in every project we want, but the collaboration that is taking place in these efforts is worth the time. The more we all get involved, the more positive outcomes we will see.