By Lisa Payne-Mickles
MILFORD – In a presentation last week, Economic Development Authority Director Mike Sullivan launched Pike |County’s new marketing plan to attract better paying jobs and increase the text base.
Sullivan told county commissioners that the nuts and bolts of the marketing plan is to identify potential customers and contact them through a series of four postcard mailings highlighting the benefits of locating to pike County.
Since the county has not been marketed on a national level as an appealing economic development area of many years and was dependent on the building and tourism industries, sustainability and job creation could prove difficult without taking on a new direction, especially since there already are economic downsides such as insufficient sewer, gas, internet and water lines, few locations without wetlands, and unfavorable zoning for commerce.
The county plans to attract smaller businesses that have low environmental impact and the ability to use individual septic systems and water from underground wells.
By sprinkling industrial and commercial businesses throughout the area, the tax burden on municipalities, school district and county would be minimized, since commercial uses cost less than 32 cents per dollar for services versus residential properties, whose expenses exceed each dollar taken in.
Sullivan said there is a fear that economic development would encroach on tourism, but one needs to remember that one third of the county is protected from development through state forests and game lands and the National Park Service.
He then presented sobering statistics on the wages earned through the leisure and hospitality industry, which are the lowest according to the most recent industry report, at $13.76 per hour versus manufacturing at $24.72 and durable goods (products that last more than three years) at $26.12 per hour.
On a high note Sullivan said they are currently in negotiations with a company that will provide at least 20 new jobs with annual salaries of $40,000 to $80,000.
He also said that the county has still not felt the effects of Kahrs Firearms in the Pike County Industrial Park in Blooming Grove, which is currently under construction and will provide the area with at least 100 new jobs.
This came about by highlighting Pennsylvania’s relatively low tax rates and regulations compared to surrounding states in the Northeast, lower costs in addition to great schools, close proximity to metro New York, and affordable housing.
Another key element in attracting new businesses is to welcome them and let them know that the county wants and values their business and that they are not just other unidentified commercial taxpayers.
The next board of commissioners meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 16 at 9 a.m. at the administration building in Mildford.