Bank loans and social media were just a couple of the economic development meeting topics commissioners discussed at Monday’s meeting.
The Feb. 18 meeting, which was attended by roughly 60 to 70 people, was to hear from county business owners.
Commissioners discussed with Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman concerns that business owners had raised.
One topic was that the community thought that in order for a business to thrive in the county, local banks needed to back up businesses more.
Chairman Randy Dallke said that things are not the way they used to be.
“Banks are being tied, just like us sitting right here, more and more every day,” Dallke said. “It just seems like bankers need to have more rules today than they have had to [in the past].”
Marion National Bank President Jim Hefley responded to Dallke’s comment, saying that banks would like to work with applicants, however, loans could not be granted to every business owner if they did not have realistic and doable business plans.
“Realistic business plans can help a business succeed,” Hefley said. “Too many of them I’ve seen over the years had a lot of pie in the sky, and they do not have enough equity cap, or what I call financial muscle, to weather the storm. But again, banks are looking for quality loans.”
Another topic discussed was the use of social media to attract talent.
Huffman told commissioners she uses social media, but that she’s only on it every two to three weeks.
Huffman used last weekend’s Ladies Fair, which had 17 vendors and a total of 104 visitors, as an example of how she uses social media.
“I did the flyer, posted them, sent it to all the ladies that were going to have a business there, and most of them are younger and I said ‘Send these out to all your customers, all your friends’ which they did,” Huffman said. “And so that’s the way to market.”
Willingness to change was another topic that was brought up at the meeting, which Dallke agreed with.
“Today’s living world, today’s business world, it can’t be like it was yesterday,” Dallke said. “We have to go forward.”
Huffman also thanked commissioners for taking the initiative of conducting the meeting and allowing business to let their voices be heard.
“I thought it was a great meeting,” Huffman said. “I thought you did a great job facilitating that.”
Commissioners will discuss the second half of the list at next week’s meeting.
In other business:
- Commissioner Dan Holub suggested putting an orange fence around the Florence school building. “There’s nails sticking out, broken glass, there’s all kinds of opportunity for catastrophe,” Holub said. “Get something up there to keep people the hell away from it.”
- Commissioners told Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm to get an engineer out to the area of 280th and Bluestem Rds. to evaluate how to allow better water flow through the colvert before approving the addition of a second one. “I don’t want to do anything that won’t make a difference,” Holub said. “If it was their bridge, how would they fix it and make it affordable.”
- Commissioners approved a one-year subscription to an EMS instruction and testing site for those who are too busy to attend classes.