Local officials make a big difference.
It’s no secret that Main and Mulberry is all about “local” – we shout it from the rooftops. When we think of the term “local” though, our minds first think “local businesses.” Rightfully so, as that is perhaps the most visible aspect of small towns. What is not top of mind, but should be, are local elected officials.
I read recently that some 50-60% of the population votes in a presidential election, but only an estimated 10-15% do so in local elections. All the while, it is the local officials who are affecting our lives more directly and on a daily basis. This is true for everyone that lives in a small town; residents, students, small business owners, real estate professionals, developers and healthcare professionals (the list continues) are all affected by the decisions of local government.
Sure, local governments handle the typical town functions like managing budgets, city taxes, roads and public services. However, as we dig a little deeper, we find they also play a huge role in affecting small businesses’ growth and development. A great example is the process for a small business to open its doors. In our hometown of Collierville, TN, a local micro-brewery is struggling to meet the town’s food-to-alcohol sales ratio requirements. Unable to convince the town board to rezone his long-time family land, a local developer had to shift gears from a residential development to a commercial development. There is validity to all sides of these debates, and our point is not to take a side, but to show that the local elected officials are affecting a wide range of activities.
Local officials also play a role in deciding which national chains may come to our towns, the mix of businesses (ranging from corporate headquarters to car dealers), the types of signage and street advertisements that businesses can display and even the types of construction materials that builders may use. From a more personal perspective, they help control the density of housing developments (think apartments), approve new subdivisions and decide the districts where our kids may attend public school.
Truly, “Supporting Local” begins with voting local! We must ensure that our towns grow, or not grow, in the direction in which the community feels best. After all, the community is the heartbeat of every town, and local elections are the voice of the community.
Main and Mulberry
Small Towns Tell Big Stories.