When it comes to economic development, borders don't mean that much

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By The Staff

We're confident the Spencer County Board of Zoning Appeals will eventually make the right decision on whether or not to grant ThyssenKrupp Waupaca a special-exception permit to operate a monofill in Huff Township. The site would service the foundry located on Indiana 66 near Tell City.  A front-page story today reports on the board's unanimous decision last month to grant a variance that would allow the company to operate the disposal facility and progress made on coming up with an agreement with neighboring landowners.  We believe a compromise - most likely a set of several agreements outlined in a legally binding agreement - can be implemented to allow Waupaca to build its monofill, but we prefer to use this space to applaud what we see as a growing realization that local counties can no longer pursue jobs and economic development without acknowledging the impacts  on surrounding communities. Simply put, local county leaders understand that jobs available nearby are a benefit to us. Likewise, Spencer County benefits from jobs in nearby communities, such as those at Waupaca.  All counties want direct investment within their borders that results in added jobs, new infrastructure and additional property taxes, but we all need to acknowledge that jobs available one and two counties over benefit our working men and women. Waupaca employs more than 150 Spencer Countians and those paychecks filter through that community. Those dollars go toward groceries, oil changes, new lawn mowers, plate lunches and clothes. They tip waiters and were be used to pay property taxes due last week.  Business owners don't just sell their wares and services to their fellow county residents but also out-of-the-area shoppers who come knocking. We should work to protect jobs, especially manufacturing positions that Spencer County Commissioner David Gogel so correctly pointed out last week are becoming scarce in the U.S.  During earlier meetings on the monofill issue, we heard complaints that Spencer County shouldn't take waste from a Perry County employer. That may be a valid point, but our economies are too connected to shut the door at every request that comes to us from a neighboring community.  Those opposed to the monofill simply because the source of the material is in another county might ask themselves where their household trash is trucked each week. Household trash from Perry and Spencer counties goes elsewhere for disposal. That's made possible because another county has been willing to allow for what we hope are safe, responsible landfills.  Neighboring landowners have every right to voice concerns and ask hard questions about how the project will affect their properties. In the same way, men and women deeply committed to safeguarding our soil, water and air should be listened to. But don't make the argument one of us vs. them.  Keep the debate about Waupaca's monofill to the merits of the request and the impact on our connected economy.  We tip our hats to the ongoing process of dialogue that has allowed community leaders and company officials, local environmentalists and promoters of economic development, to share ideas and build bridges to common ground.  We look forward to seeing a proposed agreement that could allow a monofill to be constructed. When it arrives, everyone with a stake in the issue should give it a fair look. Some of the best compromises come only after hard work - and strong debate. Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.