We need to work hard together in 2017

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A few years ago, Natchez Inc.’s executive director, Chandler Russ, told a group of business leaders the secret to economic success was complicated, yet simple.

All you need to do, he said, is attract businesses that can make a world-class product here at home that can be shipped around the world.

That simple idea means that people here make things that other people buy, thus bringing in money from outside the area.

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Years ago our area had an abundance of such businesses — International Paper, Armstrong Tire and Johns Manville, just to name a few.

Our area has begun the slow process of rebuilding the industries that were last in the last 20 years.

Among the most successful are metal fabricators Great River Industries and paper recycler and manufacturer von Drehle.

The latter company has made an enormous improvement in the bankrupt facility the company purchased.

The company has grown to 150 employees and has invested approximately $130 million into the company’s production facility. The heavy investment will make the company competitive for many years to come and allow it to continue to make world-class products right here at home.

As a result of the company’s investment, Adams County will receive approximately $400,000 this company year from a fee-in-lieu of tax agreement.

That amount is a significant amount of increase in the tax base, which should underscore the need to constantly work on bringing in new jobs, to make world-class products here.

As we begin a New Year, let us make a collective New Year’s resolution to keep working hard and working together to create such jobs here again.

If we’re successful, 2017 could be a boon of a year.