Beaufort Mayor Keyserling: It's time for the people to get serious about our local economy

Flickr user chrisdlugosz

Mayor: "It‘s time to fulfill promises for a diverse economic base and more economic sustainability."

With the collapse of Beaufort County's economic development (and no replacement designed yet), Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling has penned an opinion piece saying Beaufort has for too long procrastinated on serious economic diversification.  

If you didn't know it, Beaufort is quite reliant on a few sectors, as Keyserling puts it: "farming and shrimping (now almost extinct), tourism, the military, government jobs and more recently the construction trades."

The mayor says it's time we not await the government to take leadership, but instead the people should get involved to spark the next step.

You can read his full piece here, or check out the key excerpts below. (His piece is quite good, but at more than 750 words it is also quite long.)

Heated discussions about local economic development were quieted by handing the challenge to consultants. The Lowcountry Economic Alliance committed $125,000 for a study and soon after Beaufort County committed $50,000 for its own study.

Aren’t people talking with each other? Aren’t we wasting public resources though duplication? Are we paying attention? Are we content to see a system failing?

Regrettably, our county is perceived by economic developers as unfriendly to business. 

It shouldn’t take longer than 30 days to issue a development permit for a simple industrial building in an established business park. And, we shouldn’t cause delays for businesses locating to a business park because they didn’t select appropriately colored awnings or their landscaping wasn’t completely installed.

In good conscience, I can’t wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting so I am calling on you, my colleagues across the region, to bite the bullet, work together, dig deeper into our pockets if necessary and engage the private sector to walk the walk.

So what do you think?