In a rare display of cooperation and good sense, five small counties in northwest Tennessee and southwest Kentucky have formed an alliance to work on economic development.
The Ken-Tenn Regional Alliance, which represents Obion, Weakley and Lake counties in Tennessee and Fulton and Hickman counties in Kentucky, operates at the other end of the state, but East Tennessee economic develoment officials would do well to pay close attention to the group’s efforts.
Working across county and state lines presents certain political hurdles, but joint ventures can serve taxpayers well if local officials are sincere in their efforts to cooperate.
On Sunday, the News Sentinel and Knoxvillebiz.com, take a look at how the credit crunch has slowed development of Pellissippi Place, a technology business park being developed by Knox and Blount counties and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville.
Access to capital is hurting commercial development across the country. Both small businesses and public-private groups like the Industrial Development Board of Blount County, which owns Pellissippi Place, are having trouble getting loans.
Help could be on the way. But politics could get in the way. Now there’s a surprise.
New data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that personal income for Knox County rose 3.1 percent from 2007 to 2008, a reflection of the good times just before the recession kicked in.
On a per capita basis, personal income for the county was $36,342 in 2008, seventh highest in Tennessee. Williamson County was No. 1 at $55,717, followed by Davidson County at $44,228 and Shelby County at $41,598.
The other candidates missed a golden opportunity to let us know where they stand on taxes, economic development, the county budget and other critical issues. Burchett and Cosby both have some very interesting comments, especially on potential tax increases and the county debt.