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Opportunities abound for Council

It is encouraging to see the Warren Council Council of Governments taking a hard look at how the group can help solve some of the county’s most pressing issues.

Of course, fire and EMS services are the impetus for these talks, and we hope that the Council of Governments’ strategic planning process puts the COG in position to play a key role in creating a volunteer fire and EMS system that keeps all Warren County residents safe when emergencies strike.

Perhaps the council could also consider taking a role in economic development. Participants mentioned at their most recent meeting wanting to help promote small business.

Similar councils in other states have small loan funds that help small businesses start up or expand while also helping prepare grant applications to pay for infrastructure improvements to pave the way for new development.

We are lucky here in Warren County in one respect — our unemployment rate is so low that outside companies may not see a labor pool for them to draw from if they locate here.

At the same time, though, the struggles of many local businesses in the wake of COVID-19 and the pending loss of 300 jobs at the Irvine Distribution Center seem to be pointing toward the need for renewed energy and focus on economic development.

A related issue is the continuing struggle for employers of semi-skilled workers to find workers workers who can pass a drug test. Opioids and their effect on the workforce is certainly an area that the Council of Governments may be able to play a role, even if it is through a regional health department or board of health.

Council of Governments members should be commended for taking a hard look at what they are doing and what their future should hold.

We hope that they keep in mind that economic development work can benefit — either directly or indirectly — each and every jurisdiction represented in the Council of Governments.

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