Homer Voice for Business makes valid points at a time when small town economies are shifting to greater self-sustainability. Across the country the move away from bigger outside businesses supplying our material and food needs urges us toward supplying for those needs within our own towns. The advice from numerous social-economic critics is to protect ourselves from future insecurity.
How do we do that? By changing some of our thinking – and helping city governments to change as well. And by taking a collaborative approach in entrepreneurship rather than the traditional competitive one.
A new group called Homer Voices for Business bands together the largest body of entrepreneurs ever garnered in Homer. Its impressive array of business sectors promises to give the government access to a powerful resource and sounding board.
The group may well be able to help fix a problem. In the past, when Homer businesses let their thoughts be known to the Homer City Council, we’re told they did so hesitantly. They feared they could lose customers or other support due to their political positions.
Mayor Beth Wythe has said several times that she’s been told of a reluctance to publicly testify on certain issues of high profile out of fear of being tagged by city administrators or targeted for rebuff by Homer people.
The focus has been taken off the individual business and as a collective, Homer Voice for Business can make cases for change in certain regulations that make operating a shop or store or hotel in Homer difficult and expensive. The concept of many hands make lighter work couldn’t be more welcome news to those long struggling alone.
Regulations and ordinances on plastic bags, sign width, zoning requirements for paved parking, just to name a few, carry both pros and cons. If citizens are fearful to speak out on the cons, however, the public discussion is not a full vetting. It’s called silence.
On the Homer City Council’s side, with help from the Planning and Zoning Commission, more and more regulations get added to the books each year. Or there are shifts in what can or can’t be done to make changes. It seems once an ordinance is adopted and placed in city code, the council is reluctant to tinker with it, even when it’s obvious a change is warranted in the form of an amendment.
Ordinances were not meant to be written in stone. They need more flexibility when problems surface in city codes.
The concept of unintended consequences created by certain ordinances also warrants a clearer eye. If the object is to use city revenue from tax payers to plug leakage in city services, than why not look at that as an option? Enterprise funds are an excellent idea for supporting the various parts of city services. But when those funds cannot be accessed and increased rates are looked to instead, the larger system isn’t working.
Welcome Homer Voice for Business. We hope a healthy dialogue ensues.
Comments are closed