What happened to incentive fund plans?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Does anyone remember the Aesop fable about the ant and the grasshopper? Here’s a brief refresher: the grasshopper spent its summer whiling away the hours while the ant was busy storing food for the winter.

The grasshopper assumed that since he had plenty to eat during the summer, he could just spend his days playing. Then those cold winter months came, and the grasshopper had no food to eat. The moral? &uot;It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.&uot;

We are running the risk of living as sparsely as

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the grasshopper in terms of economic development in Natchez and Adams County.

Interest seems to have waned in establishing a private incentive fund to help economic development in Natchez and Adams County.

Such funds &045; whether in the form of a traditional capital campaign to raise private money or a small business incentive fund &045; can help rebuild our industrial base.

While we’ve been whiling away our hours here in Natchez, other communities have been raising these funds and using them to build industrial parks, to fund new equipment and travel for economic development officials and to give loans and grants to businesses that turned us down.

Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith got a good response in an initial meeting to plan for an incentive fund. Since then, he’s had to cancel two subsequent meetings for lack of participation.

What happened to the sense of urgency born from International Paper’s plant closure?

Our economic development authority is working hard to lure industry. The business community that will benefit from such a boost in the economy should step up to help out &045; or at least to investigate the options.