The public is invited to be a part of planning for community economic and fiscal health on Feb. 25 from 6-7 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the River Room Event Center, located above Luther’s BBQ at National Avenue and Oak Stree.
“Tuesday evening is a presentation and the actual workshop is on Wednesday,” Fort Scott Community Development Director Robert Uhler said.
Smart Growth America is coming to Fort Scott.
Smart Growth America empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity, according to its’ website:
“We first met the Smart Growth people when we went on our first trip to DC in March of 2019, working with Strategic Implementation plan,” Uhler said.
“Smart growth policy can help communities save money now, reduce their liabilities for the future and use targeted investment to spur economic development,” Uhler noted. “The ‘planning for economic and fiscal health’ workshop draws on successful private and public sector lessons to help local leaders foster smart growth communities that cost their taxpayers less to build, run and maintain.”
“This workshop first brings you the latest lessons in how smart growth saves money for local governments, makes money for businesses and is integral for the long-term fiscal and economic health of the community,” he said. “Using an interactive and hands-on method, the workshop then shows how to apply these lessons in your community.”
The first half of the technical assistance workshop on Wednesday focuses on how approaches save the community money, including increasing tax revenues and reducing tax burdens, attracting new businesses, increasing the efficiency of the labor market, providing greater stability in times of uncertainty and rising energy costs, investing public funds to stimulate private investment, increasing local capital circulation and providing a foundation for long term fiscal and economic health and competitiveness, according to information provided by Uhler.
Participants also learn how to overcome barriers to starting community smart growth including a lack of understanding of the relationship between development and municipal costs and revenues, the importance of growing small and mid-size businesses and the role of nearness to value creation, according to info provided by Uhler.
In the second half of the day, the technical assistance team joins participating community members to look at the community’s economic development plans and projects to evaluate how the current situation compares to smart growth principles.
Working with the community, the team will create specific changes to strategy and identify next steps in planning for fiscal and economic health that makes sense for the community, which may include suggestions for changes to the capital budgeting process, permitting process, regulatory framework and direction of economic development incentives, according to the information provided.
A follow-up memo will measure progress and leave the community with further next steps.
The hoped outcome is better understanding of how we prepare and plan for growth in our community, Uhler said.
The local people who have been involved in the presentation and workshop planning process are FS Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt, FS Tourism Director Alley Turvey and Uhler.