Why economic development is important—from Peach Glen to Papua New Guinea

This column originally published in the Gettysburg Times, February 11, 2016

By Duane Kanagy, Adams Electric

Adams EC

Politician, businessman and diplomat Jon Huntsman, Jr., once claimed that he was criticized by those who say government should not be in the economic development business at all.

“My response is that the only country I know that doesn’t have an economic development plan is Papua New Guinea,” he quipped. Huntsman served as the 16th Governor of Utah and as United States Ambassador to Singapore and China and knows of where he speaks.

Papua New Guinea may still not have an economic development plan, but the point is that governments at all levels in all modern countries have a hand at building healthy economies in order to have healthy communities.

The City of San Pablo, California, lists on its website just a few of the ways in which economic development helps communities:

  • Increased Tax Base…the additional revenue provided by economic development supports, maintains, and improves local infrastructure, such as roads, parks, libraries, and emergency medical services.
  • Job Development…economic development provides better wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.
  • Business Retention…businesses feel appreciated by the community and, in turn, are more likely to stay in town, contributing to the economy.
  • Economic Diversification…a diversified economic base helps expand the local economy and reduces a community’s vulnerability to a single business sector.
  • Self-sufficiency…a stronger economic base means public services are less dependent on intergovernmental influences and alliances, which can change with each election.
  • Productive Use of Property…property used for its “highest and best use” maximizes the value of that property.
  • Quality of Life…more local tax dollars and jobs raise the economic tide for the entire community, including the overall standard of living of the residents.
  • Recognition of Local Products…successful economic development often occurs when locally produced goods are consumed in the local market to a greater degree.

Our economic developers include the Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC). Their role evolves continuously as they work with local government bodies and other organizations to plan, design and implement economic development strategies. They also act as a key liaison between public and private sectors and the community.

ACEDC is instrumental in helping to leverage finances from both the public and private sectors—funding that is critical to help communities attract new businesses and assist existing business with expansion and troubleshooting.

It’s the local-level economic development professionals, including the professionals at ACEDC, who can assist these businesses and help them thrive. That creates jobs and more revenue for our communities.

Adams Electric is also committed to economic development. Electric cooperatives are governed by seven guiding principles, and the seventh is “concern for community.”

Adams Electric takes that charge seriously. That is why the cooperative has a Community Development Loan Fund that assists local nonprofits expand and continue to serve their communities. That is also why we are strong supporters of ACEDC and the valuable work that organization does for us all.

So, whether you live in Peach Glen or Papua New Guinea, remember that economic development is important as a path to a better life for all.

This month’s ACEDC column is provided by Duane Kanagy, Manager of Communications/Community Services for Adams Electric, as a benefit of Adams Electric’s Presidential Investment in ACEDC for 2016. Additionally, Duane serves on ACEDC’s Board of Directors and is a valued member of several ACEDC Committees.

You are invited to partner with ACEDC as a 2016 investor to continue our county’s success. Investments by businesses, nonprofits and individuals, which include a host of benefits, are being added to the ACEDC website on a rolling basis. See the current listing at acedc.org under Investor Directory. ACEDC is grateful to Adams Electric and all 2016 investors! Contact ACEDC’s Kaycee Kemper (717-334-0042, Kemper10@acedc.org) for more information and to become an investor today.




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