I am not on social media, but I understand the buzz is not good; not just in Bourbon County, but across the country. It is so easy to go negative. I was the banker for many newspapers in the Kansas City metro area, and it was interesting that the lowest paid reporters on staff were the critics: movies, restaurants, the arts, etc. It is just way too easy. Even I have made a few negative remarks in my columns.
Want some positive news? Bourbon County is number one in per person income in the eight counties in SEK. Here are the numbers:
2009 2018 2009 2018
Allen $33,302 $40,218 Crawford $30,834 $37,921
Anderson $31,955 $38,539 Labette $32,530 $42,127
Bourbon $32,661 $42,697 Linn $29,438 $37,267
Cherokee $28,170 $39,645 Neosho $28,926 $39,485
What this means is that the total income earned by Bourbon County residents divided by every man, woman and child exceeds that of all of our neighbors. Good news!
This is important for economic development in that it takes cash flow to make households, businesses, and government go, and we have it. What else is required for economic development? Capital to invest. Here are dollars on deposit with county bank branches, and the per person calculation, in 2019:
Millions in Millions in
Deposits Per Person Deposits Per Person
Allen $292 $23,600 Crawford $669 $17,200
Anderson $200 $25,500 Labette $484 $24,700
Bourbon $254 $17,500 Linn $178 $18,300
Cherokee $271 $13,600 Neosho $394 $24,600
What this means is that there is $17,500 on deposit in a county bank branch for every man, woman, and child in BB. We are closer to the bottom on the list. Either we have deposited a lot of money with local investment advisors/out of area banks, or we are bad savers. Money in savings is what people use to start new businesses.
Another statistic that plays into the future of economic activity in our county is the “pull factor” which measures the number of dollars spent in BB when compared to the earnings of its citizens; we are at 70%. Using the per person income chart above, what this means is that the average BB person spends about $30,000 in BB (It is actually lower than that, as the statistic does not measure dollars spent here by non-residents). This is a low number; for example, Allen County has pull factor of 103%, meaning more money is spent in Allen County than the total earnings of its residents. Alas, poor Cherokee County is just at 38% and declining; Joplin, Pittsburg, and Miami are just too close with better shopping options.
What can we do? Buy local. Save. Invest in BB. Deposit your money in local bank branches or with local investment advisors. Donate your money to local charities. Invest in a local business. Decide to pay as much of your sales tax as possible in BB. We have the earnings; let’s use it!