More business would help unemployed

Published 11:57 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

Any individual that has succeeded financially understands that sometimes a sound investment is necessary in order to eventually turn a profit. It’s good to see the City of Clanton was willing to spend a little money when the return was a new campus of Jefferson State Community College.

To lure the college to town, more than $1 million was spent on site preparation, engineering and other infrastructure improvements at the site in addition to donating the land for the school and civic center, City Auditor Janice Hull told the Clanton Lions Club on Friday. While its not news that the city made short-term concessions with the long-term benefits of a community college in mind, Hull put the investment in context.

The city took in almost $10 million in revenue in fiscal year 2007-08 and spent $9.5 million. So, even with all the money spent on Jeff State, the city still turned a significant profit in difficult economic times.

Assuming there’s another half million surplus this fiscal year—and that might also include an extra $1 million that won’t be spent on a college and $95,000 that likely won’t be spent on park improvements—here’s an idea for something to spend the money on: reversing the disturbing trend of rising unemployment in the county.

The unemployment rate increased from 4.8 to 4.9 percent between September and October and was up from 2.8 percent in October 2007, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations announced Friday.

While it’s impossible to determine this year’s finances based solely on last year, the city can surely come up with some money to try to help get able bodies into jobs.

Maybe money could be spent on the county’s unemployment office. Maybe we could lure some businesses now that the precedent has been set by the efforts to get Jeff State.