Thursday, December 27, 2018

Help Wanted in Cumberland County!

Landscape Gardener II
Salary $10.20 - $13.52 Hourly
Click the link below

The Landscape Gardener II position at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is located within the Golf Maintenance Department. Be a part of maintaining a beautiful, award winning 18 hole golf course. 

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park offers a beautiful, family-friendly location on Dale Hollow Lake. 

We offer a great package of employee and family-friendly benefits, including: 

  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Wellness Incentives Program
  • Optional Health Reimbursement Account or Flex-spending (or Dependent Care Flex Spending)
  • Complimentary park familiarization visits for you and family
  • Employee meal and Parks gift shop discounts
  • Paid Time Off (Sick and vacation)
  • Paid Holidays
  • Training/Career Development Opportunities
  • Optional Deferred Compensation program (for 401K)
  • Employee Discounts on electronics, health & wellness, retail, travel, events, entertainment services and education

Conservation Officer Recruit
Salary $29,129.28 - $38,588.64
Click the link below

Do you work in the Law Enforcement field? Are you ready for a change of scenery? 

We have all the scenery you could ask for! The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is "hunting" for people to join our team! Yes, we’re "fishing" for applicants! 

Preferred candidate will have their Peace Officer Professional Standards (POPS) certification and at least 2 years of law enforcement experience. 

Working as a Conservation Officer Recruit, you will perform tasks such as :

  • Patrol fields, forests, and waterways to observe activity and violations of law.
  • Issue citations to violators and assist senior officers in apprehending violators and making arrests.
  • Prepare cases and present in court.
You will be required to operate various types of equipment such as a firearm, boat, ATV, vehicle, radio and other essential items. During your first year, you will be trained in our Fish and Wildlife Academy, which covers such topics as:
  • Firearms
  • Drug Identification
  • Hazardous Devices
  • ATV operation
  • Krav Maga Self Defense
  • Water survival
  • Species identification
  • Media relations and job related legal topics.
Upon completion of the Fish and Wildlife Academy, you will be placed with a field-training officer for 16 weeks of hands on training. Benefits include paid continuing education, Health Insurance, Retirement, Deferred Compensation, $20,000 life insurance policy, group rates for dental and vision plans, paid holidays, and an above average starting pay that includes a $4,000 per year training stipend. Upon successful completion of probation, you will be rewarded with a 5% probationary increase. We also offer defined a career path with regular salary increases for the valued officers of KDFWR. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Hemp Farmers Wanted!

On Thursday afternoon of December 20, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles then immediately applied for federal approval of Kentucky’s hemp program.

The farm bill removes hemp from the list of controlled substances. That will now allow farmers to grow commercial hemp and apply for crop insurance.

Kentucky farmers grew almost 7,000 acres of hemp in 2018 for limited research and development.

Mr. Quarles wrote a letter to the U.S. Agriculture Commissioner and said, “By removing hemp from the list of controlled substances, and directing USDA to make hemp growers eligible to participate in federal farm programs on an equal footing with other crops, the new Farm Bill has laid the groundwork for full-scale commercialization of this promising crop.”

Hemp is closely related to marijuana (cannabis), but doesn’t contain as much THC. It was grown widely in Kentucky during World War II and was used for clothing, paper, rope and more. In the last few years the market for products made with hemp has been on a steep increase, but the problem has been that the plant was still on the controlled substances list. That meant that businesses had to import the commercial hemp, which could then be legally made into products.

This bill creates an exciting opportunity for local farmers! But it doesn’t seem to be a farmer’s market type of crop. In fact, some say the minimum acreage to be farmed to turn a profit is 50 acres. And the machinery necessary to harvest the fiber from the stalks is expensive and hard to find. One option for farmers, instead of high investments in machinery, would be to contract with companies at a regional level that accept the raw plants, then they process.

Is it profitable? That has yet to be seen. We are still in the very early stages. A study by Cornell University found that profits could range anywhere from $130 to $730 per acre. (I don’t know how they came up with those numbers, but I’m thinking the high number is wishful thinking.) Compare that to soybeans and corn that do good to average the lower end of that scale.

I do hope our local farmers will investigate the possibility of growing hemp, and see if it would be beneficial to their farming operations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Young People, the Need to Congregate and Littering

Believe it or not, I was once young. Full of energy and ready to take on the world. I still am ready to take on the world, but the energy level has dropped a little over the years. As a young man in high school I was always parking around town talking to people. It's just what young people do.

Since before my time there has been a lacking of things for our young men and women to do around town. And I hope that we can change that in the near future. Boredom and idle hands can sometimes be dangerous.

But this post isn't about what we can do, that post will come later. This one is about littering.

Groups of young people have congregated in various spots around town over the years. But over the last couple of years littering has become a problem in these areas. Eventually the police have to come and tell these folks that they can't park there anymore, and they have to find another spot.

Recently the spot is the large gravel parking lot on Upper River Street by the City Park and the River. The morning after Thanksgiving there was lots of trash in the parking lot. Our city employees had to pick it all up. Speaking to the young folks here, IT'S NOT THEIR JOB TO PICK UP AFTER YOU! The citizens of Burkesville pay taxes, and part of that money goes to paying city employees.

So, I spoke to the Public Works supervisor and he promptly put a large blue trash barrel in the parking lot. Thank you, Coach. Has it stopped the littering? No. But it has helped a little.

This morning, after walking at the track, I took the above photo. Zoom in to see all the trash. Then I walked around the parking lot picking up the trash from the people that sat there last night. Some of the trash laying right next to the trash barrel. I didn't get it all, had to go to work.

Again, speaking to those that congregate in the "gravel spot"...

If you see someone throw their trash on the ground, tell them to do the right thing and throw it in the trash barrel. Police yourselves. We don't want to stop anyone from parking and talking to their friends, but if the littering continues you will have to move to another location, and those are getting thinner by the day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Rescue Squad Christmas Dinner and Teddy Roosevelt

I would like to thank the Cumberland County Rescue Squad for inviting me and my family to their annual Christmas Dinner. My wife was working late and couldn’t make it, and my daughter was out of town. I appreciate the hospitality that was shown to me. The food was delicious, and the fellowship was wonderful. A big thanks to all the folks that prepared the food and got the building ready for the event.

Their effort and willingness to help others defines this organization. They are called upon for tasks that range from dangerous river, woods and cliff rescues to traffic control, and they do it all with professionalism, humbleness, and respect.

This group is one of many in the city of Burkesville, and Cumberland County, that go beyond their normal call to make our community safe. And we appreciate them more than they will ever know.

The attitude of the Rescue Squad should be observed and emulated as a goal for others. In my last post I spoke about how attitude can either kill a community or lift it up; and how the attitude of the fear of change can destroy almost any good work, and nip it in the bud before it even begins to flourish. 

Instead of striving to return to the past, we must learn from the mistakes made before, and focus on the positive future of our town. We must step out of our comfort zone and explore any and all ideas. We must not be complacent. We cannot sit idly by and watch as our community grows weak. We must stand up, step in to the batters box, and use our collective resources, ambitions, enthusiasm, passions, hope and energy to knock this thing out of the park.

But we can’t be scared to try. One of my favorite quotes about trying is from Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ TR

That man knew what he was talking about. He lived it. He walked the walk. 

I am excited to be sworn in as Mayor of Burkesville on the 28th of this month, and enthusiastic to do the work. And I am very pleased to be able to work with the leaders of the various committees, boards, and organizations in Burkesville, Cumberland County, and surrounding communities.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Living in the Past

Revitalizing and growing our community is about attitude.And the closing of a grocery store does not spell automatic doom. It is NOT a good thing mind you. But it does NOT mean a life or death difference for Burkesville. The beginning and end of our wonderful community is our people and the collective attitude we have about how we define success and whether or not we want to achieve it. 

Attitude is what communities live or die by, and one of the most destructive attitudes of all is living in the past. Don't get me wrong. The older I get the more I reminisce about childhood days. It really was busier in town when I was a kid than it is now. People did seem to be nicer to one another then. But our brains are always in self-preservation mode, quietly deleting the painful memories and saving all the happy times we had. 

Rural America, of which Burkesville is a part, has had a hard time adapting to technological change over the past few decades. Change is scary for many people.And not just in a technological sense, but also in economics, politics, ethics, values, and our social structure. All that makes us want to return to the good old days.When life was simpler, moral decisions were less complicated, Burkesville was stronger, and we were all happier. 

The sad fact is, that we can't simply return to the past. In fact, discussing it all the time and trying to find ways to get back to the life we once had is distracting us from the discussions we should be having about the future, and how our community plans to fit into it. We need to be making plans to meet the future, not lamenting about the past. 

People that live totally in a romanticized vision of the past are excellent at draining the energy of forward thinking, creative individuals. Before a project even gets started you have good intentioned folks bringing it to an end because of their rejection of change and what the future might bring. 

Growth = Change 

We have all adapted to change over time. We don't farm the same way, using the same equipment as our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Dentists and doctors don't use the same technology as they did in the past. Logging and sawmills have had equipment strides. And the list goes on. We have adapted. 

When we as a community, set out to accomplish something, mistakes will always be made.The only time you don't make a mistake is when you don't try. When you do nothing. Wrong decisions may have been made in the past in our community, things that may have contributed to the economic period we are currently in, or things that could have made a huge difference in Burkesville for the positive. But, at some point we have to realize we can't change the past, and we must look forward to the future and solving the problems that lie before us. We either fix it if it's fixable, or forget it and move on. The future of Burkesville is at stake, not its past. 

Forget the past. No one becomes successful in the past. 

Those trying to live in the past, complaining about wrong decisions that were made years ago, are distracting to those that have projects in the works, investments to make in our community, and initiatives that will help build Burkesville's future. 

Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it, or at least trying to. 

We hope to have community forums at some point soon, to get the public together to discuss out future, what we would like to see in it, and work on a community plan to achieve those goals.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Our Park and Its Future

I usually do a few laps on the walking trail at the city park every morning. It gets my blood pumping and gives me a little quiet time inside my head.  Not long after that emails start coming in, the to-do list grows, and dragons need to be battled around every corner. That quiet time is essential.

As I’ve been walking lately I’ve noticed some open space I think could be utilized more efficiently. There is a small grassy area that surrounds the outside of the t-ball field that I would like to see put to good use. And by that I mean some cool equipment for kids and adults alike.

I recently took a short visit to Livingston, Tennessee, to visit their city park. I’d heard about it from some friends, and it sounded like it would be worth the trip. It was. The park is laid out very nicely with covered areas, a water feature, almost indestructible musical equipment, lots of things to climb on, and some heavy duty exercise equipment that is affixed to the ground and meant to weather the elements. Below are some photos. 

There's also a link to a PDF of the exercise equipment below. There are 5 sets of equipment, with two stations each. 

The park was designed and equipped by a company that specializes in recreational design. LOTS to see at their website.

I would love to see something like this in our park. Of course it would mean finding grants that could cover the cost. I’m researching grants and funding options for not only this, but other possible projects as well.  Including something along the riverfront for families to enjoy. I have ideas about this but that can wait until a later time to discuss.

For Burkesville to grow and become a place where young families want to live, we have to check a lot of boxes at once. Jobs. Affordable housing. Social gathering places. Amenities. Education. Businesses. And the list goes on. That means the next four years are going to be very busy.  That’s good. I look forward to the hard work ahead. Everyone will need to play a role in the revitalization of our wonderful town, and that’s what will make this community even stronger, and more accommodating for all. 

Are you ready?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Lake Cumberland Area Development District

I attended my first meeting with the LCADD in Russell Springs yesterday. Met a lot of great people that I’m looking forward to working with for the next few years!

Having been on the city council for 4 years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting different people  that work for what we around here commonly call the ADD District, formally it is the Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD). Most of that interaction has been through the council regarding grants or loans. And not until recently did I discover what an incredible resource this organization has been to our area in the past, and what an important, and integral, part they play in our future.

Let me give you a quick rundown of what this group of dedicated individuals that work for this agency are doing for us at the moment...

From their website, “The Community and Economic Development Department staff provides project planning, technical assistance, financial packaging, grant application preparation and administrative services to all units of local government within the 10-county area. These services are also available to non-profit organizations within the area and to private, for-profit businesses with plans to locate or expand, creating jobs and investing
private capital.

I bolded and italicized that last sentence of the description for a reason. Not only do they go beyond the call of duty for cities and counties in their region, but also assist private, for-profit businesses. Want to locate a business here? Or expand your business? Are you creating jobs and investing your money into your business endeavor? The LCADD can help you! Reach out and talk to some there, and they will let you know if you qualify for any of their services. Their website is

Ms. Judy Hachey is a Community Development Specialist for the LCADD. Judy has helped us search for, and then write, grant proposals in the past, and is currently working on our application for a CBDG (Community Development Block Grant) grant and low interest loan to assist in the funding of a multi-million dollar sewer plant project that we will undertake in the next year or so. She does a great job!

The LCADD also funds the Cumberland County Senior Citizen Center. From the website, “The Senior Services Department provides and coordinates responsive programs and services which enhance the dignity, support independence and offer stimulating and meaningful opportunities for adults 60 years of age and older.

Department staff operate a Central Kitchen which provides nutritious meals daily to 10 senior centers within LCADD’s service area. Department staff also manage all 10 senior centers, which are multi-purpose community facilities that serve as the focal points for delivery of all services to the elderly, including escort, transportation, information and assistance, outreach, telephone reassurance, visiting reassurance, congregate meals and home-delivered meals.”

One of the most exciting things we have at our Senior Center is the ability for video conferencing. Do you have a loved one in the military that you’d like to see during this holiday season? The LCADD can make it happen with state of the art technology right here in Burkesville! And it doesn’t have to be a military family member, it could be a relative you’d like to see, or even a business meeting that you need to attend.

Our center is located on Upper River Street across from City Hall. Call Tina Capshaw at 270-864-2275 for information on meals, transportation, fellowship and more!

There are so many more programs that the LCADD offers to communities and individuals. Remember, their website is

The Workforce part of the organization provides employment services to the community. Need a job, or training? They can probably help. I do know the city will be utilizing workers from the WIOA as seasonal employees at some point in the near future. That’s free labor for the city! It is available, and we are going to take advantage of the opportunity!

From their website, “The Workforce Development Department at LCADD implements the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Department employees provide employment services to adults, youth, dislocated workers and trade-affected workers at One-Stop Career Centers and affiliate sites located within LCADD’s 10-county area, plus Rockcastle, Laurel and Whitley counties. Employees who staff the centers offer a range of services from basic employment assistance to intensive career planning and assessment to training opportunities and job placement.”

The meeting yesterday was a pleasure to attend. The members made me feel very welcome, with everyone showing support for our community and offering to help in any way they can. It was mentioned that of the 10 counties in the LCADD region, there are 4 new County Judge Executives and 9 new Mayors of the fourteen cities represented. That’s a lot of new faces for this organization, but better than that, that means a lot of new ideas for our region. And that’s what we need. 

The entirety of rural America, not just south central Kentucky, needs to think differently than in the past. A lot of the old ideas and ways of doing things simply don’t work today. To find a way out of the economic slide that’s happening outside the metropolitan areas is going to take more than one person and one idea. It’s going to take groups people with a passion for their communities to solve the problems we are all facing.

Every small, rural town you travel through has empty buildings somewhere in their midst. Some sit idly by and waste away until there is hardly no chance of remodeling. There are many reasons a property might sit undeveloped, empty, or to the point of dilapidation.

One of those reasons is the fear of running into a contamination, pollution or ecological problems that would make the property a financial liability instead of an asset. If you have a commercial property like this, such as an old service station, industrial site, or even an old building that you think has asbestos or lead paint present, you now have a chance to get that problem take care of for FREE!

The Lake Cumberland Area Development District was recently awarded a $300,000 EPA Brownfields Assessment grant. A Brownfield is a vacant or underutilized property that may have environmental issues, such as petroleum, lead paint, asbestos, meth contamination, etc., which hinders the property’s redevelopment. This grant will be used to identify potential Brownfield sites, conduct Phase I environmental assessments, Phase II assessments as needed, and create remediation plans that will include cost estimates.

For more information contact the LCADD. All contact info is on their website,

I’ll be updating about these and various topics, so keep an eye out for more posts.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Help Wanted: Driver Helpers at UPS

Need work? UPS is hiring seasonal Driver Helpers for the holidays!

Follow the link to apply!

Full Time
Burkesville, Kentucky
Facility: Burkesville
Zip Code: 42717

UPS is hiring individuals to work as temporary, seasonal Driver Helpers. This is a physical, fast-paced, outdoor position that involves continual lifting, lowering and carrying packages that typically weigh 25 - 35 lbs. and may weigh up to 70 lbs. It requires excellent customer contact skills and a lot of walking.

As a Driver Helper you will not drive the delivery vehicle but assist the driver in the delivery of packages.

Driver Helpers usually meet the UPS driver at a mutually agreed upon time and location each weekday. Workdays can vary (Monday – Friday) or (Tuesday – Saturday) depending on the building needs. Hours vary but usually begin after 8:00 a.m. and end before 8:00 p.m. Driver Helpers must comply with UPS appearance guidelines.

Driver Helper seasonal opportunities are typically between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday time period.

This job posting includes information about the minimum qualifications (including the UPS Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines), locations, shifts, and operations within the locations which may consider my application. An applicant or employee may request an exception or change to, or an accommodation of, any condition of employment (including the UPS Uniform and Personal Appearance Guidelines) because of a sincerely held religious belief or practice.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

"What are you going to do first?"

I had never really considered myself a politician. Even after being elected to the city council for two terms. I just knew I wanted to help our community, and being on the city council was one way I thought I might be able to do that. During both of those earlier races I didn't go out knocking on doors, or sit down with a lot of people trying to convince them that I was the person for the job. But this election season we just finished was a horse of a much different color.

I've always had my own opinions about how I thought things should be done, just like everyone else. The last year taught me a lot about how to run a campaign, and how to try and explain my message and my plans, my hopes and dreams even, for Burkesville and Cumberland County.

One of the questions I now get asked on a daily basis is, What are you going to do first? Since I don't take office for another month I should have a little time to figure it out. I'm not official yet, but that doesn't mean the work shouldn't start sooner than that. 

I just finished setting up a one page sheet of information that will be available at City Hall for prospective business owners. If someone comes into town and asks, What do I need to do to open a business in Burkesville? The bulk of that information is on one sheet of paper, and will also be available on the website soon. It includes where to get a business license, tax information (all pertinent and the contact information), building permits and zoning info, how to get a federal EIN number and the Kentucky Sales and Use Tax info. It has addresses, websites, and all contact info for those entities, and also the utilitiy companies, real estate businesses, insurance and accountants, and the local banking institutions.

The goal is to make it easy to get the important information to the people that want and need it. The goal is also to make it relatively simple to start your business here. I feel if someone comes into town and asks for that information and we can't hand them a sheet of paper, or point them to our website, then we have failed.

I want to make it easy for a business to open in Burkesville. 

So that's what I'm doing first. Working on other things also. More about that, and my vision for Burkesville, in upcoming posts.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year at this time we all give thanks for the many different blessings in our lives. We all also know that we should give thanks for these things every day, not just single them out one day of the year. This year has been a roller coaster ride in my family, and I won’t bore you with all the details, but I will touch upon just a few while I have your attention.

This year we saw the two precious toddler children that had been living with us for two years, leave our home, and transition back into the home of their mother. This year we said goodbye to my dear parents who just couldn’t live without each other. And this past month we said goodbye to our dog. I hesitate to call her that because she was much more than a dog, she was truly a member of our family. The holiday season is much different this year than last.

This year saw me file, and campaign, for County Judge Executive, and saw me lose that race. But, being a glutton for punishment, I then filed to run for the office of Mayor. And this time I came out on top!

I am so thankful for everyone in my life, my family, friends, and this entire community. 

We are a resilient bunch of people here in Cumberland County. Our ancestors forged out a life upon this land that was then wild and dangerous. They endured hardships that we cannot imagine. And even though 200+ years have passed, with incredible changes made that could not have been foreseen, we still have hardships we have to live with on a daily basis. I believe it is our duty, as elected local officials, and members of the community, to make an effort to alleviate those hardships as best we can. 

As Mayor I believe our mission should be to improve the quality of life for all residents of the city of Burkesville. And Cumberland County for that matter.

I haven’t taken office yet, that comes in January, but I am very excited about getting to work and seeing what the future holds for Burkesville and the citizens of our county.

Thank you so much!! 
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Did you say utes?

Did you say utes?

Well, yes, that’s how Joe Pesci said it in My Cousin Vinny. One of my favorite movies, that centers around two young men (utes = youths) that are driving to college and get mistaken for killers on their way through Alabama. These two men are doing what a lot of other people their age do. They leave home in search of adventure. Whether that be in form of travel, education, or the never ending exploration of the world immediately around them. 

Burkesville and Cumberland County have seen our share of young people leave home after high school and end up making their lives somewhere other than their hometown. This phenomenon is not just happening here in south central Kentucky, it’s happening nationwide. Rural America, and the small towns that make it up, are slowly dwindling. Our young people leave and never come back to live. The excuses are valid for this though. Employment with benefits, social life, amenities of the larger cities. The same thing was happening here back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s when the big factories opened in northern cities. Lots of young people left Cumberland County to move north for the good paying jobs. I have worked at the Cumberland County News for many years now and have seen just how many subscriptions go to Indiana and Ohio and Illinois. I also see some of these folks returning back to their hometown AFTER retirement.

What this out-migration does to our community is that it makes the people who stay, older and poorer. Our population’s median age keeps rising. So what do we do? That’s the question everyone, from local officials across the nation to the top folks in the federal government, are trying to figure out.

I’d like to mention a couple of things that I think we shouldn’t do if we want a younger generation to flourish here. 

We need to stop ignoring our youth.

And we need to stop talking them out of coming back after college.

I know some of you are saying what in the world are you talking about. This is simple, and I have been guilty of it myself over the years. I heard it growing up, and most kids have; all their lives. “There’s nothing here, and never will be.” “If you want to do anything with your life you have to leave Burkesville.” “You can’t make a living farming anymore.” “This town is dying.”

Who in their right minds would want to come back after having those thoughts and negative connotations constantly berating you most of your young life? It gets in their heads. So when some finally get the opportunity to leave, either for jobs or school, those thoughts are still there. Why SHOULD I go back? There’s nothing there for me. “But son, don’t you want to take over the family farm?” “No, Dad. You told me all my life that you can’t make a living at it.”

Here is where we can change at least one thing. We need to stand up for our communities, and be proud of who we are and where we come from. We need to emphasize that “staying” in our hometown is a positive thing! And moving back, to work and raise a family here, is a wise choice that will benefit both the family and the community. But how, with a clear conscious, can we say it’s the right choice for our kids? Because THEY are the ones that can make the most change in our future!

We need to foster opportunities for youth, such as mentorships, apprenticeships, and job opportunities that will make our town more attractive to them, and make it a more economically stable place to settle down. We need to encourage career options that don’t depend solely on a college education. If you look at some nearby cities you can see that having a trade, such as welding or electrical training, have not only supplied jobs to those people seeking work, but also have brought businesses to those towns. The more we train our young people, the more they in turn will help benefit our society as a whole.

To accomplish this we have to have a concept of where our town is going. Of where we want it to go. What is our business model? An assembly plant of 200 new jobs would be great. But a place for the people to live would have to come first. We have to prioritize. Affordable housing, employment, and training should all be at the forefront of our efforts to attract younger people to come back to their hometown, and entice others to relocate here.

We have other amenities that will also help in our efforts to get the youth to live and work here. Dale Hollow Lake attracts people from all over the country. And outdoors activities are one reason younger folks migrate to an area. That and schools, social gathering places, and a safe, clean environment are among the things young families are seeking.

Our young people are now our most precious declining resource. We need to create new sorts of conservation efforts to invest more efficiently in them. Their futures — as parents, workers, homeowners, voters, and taxpayers — are critical for our town’s survival.

It’s obvious that there are no easy solutions ahead. But one thing is certain... Unless we can begin convincing some of these young people to stay, to move in, or to move back, we won’t get the chance to find those solutions.

I have many more thoughts and ideas regarding this issue. Look for those in an upcoming post.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local?

To ensure the success of any community, strong economic principals need to be front and center. The circulation and growth of money within the community is vital to the survival and prosperity of the community itself. So to have a strong economic foundation we need to make sure more money comes into the community than leaves. The more money that is spent outside of Burkesville, and Cumberland County, will result in reduced economic activity and that will eventually weaken and kill our entire community.

Every chamber of commerce in every city or town preaches to shop locally. And for good reason. Studies show that every dollar spent locally will touch an average of seven hands within the community before it leaves. So, there is a multiplier effect of seven for locally spent money. That helps us grow. And, the more local the business the more of a multiplier effect. Local business owners are more likely to spend locally, while corporate businesses will take most of the money they make and send it to a corporate office somewhere else. Shopping locally creates jobs and wealth for Burkesville. So why do we shop elsewhere so often?

In this area there are a couple of reasons that stand out. Groceries and gas. Houchens and IGA have had a stronghold on our groceries here for a long time. Both owned by the same corporation, with the same prices and sales. This has led to a lot of people shopping out of town for their food and supplies. The same with gas, although I think this is a secondary reaction to the groceries. It’s hard to drive 35 miles to Glasgow for cheaper fuel when you are burning fuel to get there and back. BUT, when you are already shopping out of town for something else, it’s easy to stop and fill up in the neighboring town. And you most likely don’t just purchase groceries and gas while out and about. You might stop somewhere to eat lunch or supper. Maybe do some clothes shopping, or get a quick oil change. Maybe you go by and pick up something for your home or yard. Do you see where this is going?

It is vitally essential (the importance makes the redundancy acceptable in this case) to shop local as much as humanly possible!!

Have you ever been part of a morning coffee session group at some place around town? There is always talk about businesses, new and closed. When a new business opens in town, the owners are putting in their life savings hoping to make some money and help grow the community. But instead of propping that new business up, a lot of the time you will hear the negative comments like, “What are they thinking?” “That will never go over here.” “Why would anybody shop there?” And so on. From these simple comments come the rumors about the place. Poor service. High prices. Already going broke. The owner’s a jerk. So what happens? It’s hard to get anyone to come in and find out what a great business you have for themselves. If the business fails, you’ll hear a hundred I told you so’s.

If the business makes it past that first crucial step and becomes successful, well, that’s when jealously sets in with some people. Not everybody, mind you. But it’s only natural that this happens with some people. Jealousy is an evil trait. It’s destructive, harmful and irrational. But it lives. If you are jealous of the success that the business owner has accomplished, and refuse to shop there because of the house they just bought, or their new car, you are spreading this to other members of the community for the sole purpose of trying to hurt those people’s business. That is not only wrong, but also a horrible thing to do to your community. So eventually people stop shopping there, and you’ll be happy, or not.

Either way, after the businesses fail to make it you’ll hear the comments about how we can’t ever have anything in this town. It’s going to dry up and blow away.

Does it have to be this way? NO!

I think it’s not only important for the chamber to preach the Shop Local motto, but it’s equally important that the local business owners give people a reason to shop locally. To get those loyal local customers we must give them a reason to come in and come back. 

Business owners can help in a variety of ways to keep that relationship with their customers alive. Like cleaning up, beautifying, painting, decorating, etc. Just a warm smile might help. Or asking about their family and being genuinely attentive to them and what they have to say. It’s important to show appreciation and understanding. It helps you grow together instead of apart.

Small Business Saturday is coming on November 24th, 2018. That is always a great day to shop locally. And I hope to see the town busy that day with eager shoppers and grateful owners.

But I think you can see from what I’ve written here in this post, that shopping local shouldn’t be about one or two days a year. It should be thought about every day. And practiced every day.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Our Welcome Mat

"Your Main Street is the welcome mat to your community."
A friend told me this quote and I thought it was great. I've said for a long time that one of the best ways we are going to attract more businesses, more residents, and more tourists, is to make our town inviting.
There are many ways we can try to accomplish this, including revitalization grants (which I'm researching), or working with a list of what needs to be done, starting with the smallest job and working our way up, or giving tax incentives or reductions for businesses that invest to beautify their Main Street assets. It's possible to even start a business co-op that might be able to purchase buildings, renovate, and then sell to new business owners.
These are just a few of the ideas I have on this one subject. Let's attract new businesses and new residents!

Cost Analysis of Fast Food Restaurants

One of my priorities is seeking out and recruiting new businesses.
I have been asked many times about the possibility of getting fast food restaurants in Burkesville. Can I PROMISE to bring in a McDonalds? I wish I could. But I CAN promise to try my hardest to get more options than we currently have. For any new business, we need investors.
Here are a few fast food restaurants, and the costs to open one.

Taco Bell: $1.2 million to $2.5 million
Minimum net worth: $1.5 million
Minimum liquid assets: $750,000
Franchise fee: $45,000
Royalty fee: 5.5% of gross sales

Wendy’s: $2 million to $3.5 million
Minimum net worth: $5 million for new multi-unit franchisees or franchisee groups
Minimum liquid assets: $2 million
Franchise fee: $40,000 per restaurant
Royalty fee: 4% of gross sales
Advertising fee: 4% of gross sales

KFC: $1.3 million to $2.5 million*
Minimum net worth: $1.5 million
Minimum liquid assets: $750,000
Franchise fee: $45,000
Service fee: 4% of gross sales
Advertising fee: 5% of gross sales

McDonald’s: $955,708 to $2.3 million
Minimum liquid assets: $750,000
Franchise fee: $45,000
Service fee: 4% of gross sales

Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, pays for all startup costs—including real estate, restaurant construction, and equipment.
In turn, the company leases everything to its franchisees for an ongoing fee equal to 15 percent of sales plus 50 percent of pretax profit remaining, Get that? 15% of all sales, and half of your pre-tax profit, forever.

Of course, all of these restaurants would do their own study to see if it is feasible to open a business here by looking at the workforce available, the population, average individual income, etc.
This doesn't mean we can't have more options, it just means that we have to recruit harder and up our salesmanship of our town.

New Opportunity Zone in Cumberland County

Back in April of this year, the IRS announced Opportunity Zones that were created in all 50 states. In Kentucky they designated 144 sites in 84 counties. Part of Cumberland County, including part of Burkesville, was designated an Opportunity Zone. Yesterday, October 19th, the IRS released proposed guidance on these zones and how it will help investors.
To answer a couple of basic questions...
What is an Opportunity Zone? “Opportunity Zones are an economic development tool—that is, they are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.”
How do Opportunity Zones spur economic development? “Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors. First, investors can defer tax on any prior gains invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) until the earlier of the date on which the investment in a QOF is sold or exchanged, or December 31, 2026. If the QOF investment is held for longer than 5 years, there is a 10% exclusion of the deferred gain. If held for more than 7 years, the 10% becomes 15%. Second, if the investor holds the investment in the Opportunity Fund for at least ten years, the investor is eligible for an increase in basis of the QOF investment equal to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged.”
This is an important piece of information for us here in Burkesville, as it will aid in the recruitment of businesses for our town and county. Here’s how the IRS proposes this will work (the abbreviated version);
“Among other things, the proposed regulations clarify what capital gains qualify for tax deferral, which taxpayers and investments are eligible, and the parameters for Opportunity Funds – investment vehicles set up as either a partnership or corporation to invest in eligible property located in a qualified Opportunity Zone. While Opportunity Zones retain that designation for 10 years, the proposed regulations would allow investors to hold their investments in Opportunity Funds through 2047 without losing their tax benefits.”
So, to bring that down a notch into layman terms... If you sold stocks, property, business, etc. and had a Capital Gain that you will have to pay taxes on, all you need to do is invest a recognized gain in a Qualified Opportunity Fund and elect to defer the tax on that gain.
So for those people that don’t want to pay the taxes on their profit for whatever they sold and are willing to invest in our community, they can set up an LLC, corporation or partnership, and submit a form with their taxes which will create for them a Qualified Opportunity Fund. This fund is how they will use their capital gain (all, or just part of the gain) to invest in property and businesses for Burkesville and Cumberland County.
This could help us in many ways!

No Regrets

I read an article recently that really hit home. I want share some of it with you. It was about living life with no regrets, and about l...