The forces that help or hurt the sustained economy, smart growth of a small Maine town.
It may not at first hit you as a titillating topic headline. But it should cause a pitter patter, lub dub increase deep down inside all small Maine town community dwellers. Because it is vital, life and death important to the small Maine town’s survival. For future generations to have the option to settle down there, to live, work and play.
Change happens in life, in small town Maine living. Small business being strangled with government regulations, reduced profits per unit product or service strain the economic health of the enterprise. Being driven to get bigger, the need for volume sales take their toll in small population centers. When the urban market for the end product or service is many miles away. Involving the extra overhead of shipping, fuel charges, labor expenses to get to the urban market where eight out of ten folks in America live today.
Not so long ago, the small Maine town’s economy was pretty self contained.
Now with Internet, Interstates, and evaporating local options for purchasing many goods or services the vise grip on the guglar of the small Maine business owner tightens. Profit to expand, to update equipment, to add to the payroll, or just maintain status quo has become hose kinked. Income reduced to a trickle in many cases.
So rising costs for providing town services, coupled with reduced revenue means belt tightening. Not raising fees, hiking property taxes recklessly. Which just adds large extra holes to a sinking ship. A band aid to a gunshot wound. Forcing the doors to the small business one by one to close. Jobs in the relocation to head down the road, out of the Maine small town. To places closer to the market. In areas more favorable for doing business.
Somehow making a profit, running a business and ending up in the black has become wrong to many.
Like that return is suppose to be in the hands of those feeling somehow entitled to it. As the ticket to a better way of life at the expense of the little red hen, That toiled, sacrificed to create, carve out, earn it. Small business is the economic engine for social programs, community services like road maintenance, police and fire protection, education, etc. Without the business profit there would in a short time be no programs. Everyone can not be in the wagon.
Someone has to be pulling it, pushing it. Keeping it like the economy healthy, moving. Preserve, protect free enterprise which used to sum up what America, land of opportunity was all about because of the freedom to work hard. Hustle, make the kind of living tied directly to how much labor, effort, long hours you did put in. With a little luck, a lot of creativity, patience. And seeing the market winds to adjust your “sales”.
Making a healthy environment for small Maine businesses should be a priority to all in a small Maine town. Not just throwing money at the economic dart board and hoping it sticks. Is a move in the right direction either. Not done by maintaining current levels of town services if the community can not afford it without year after year property tax hikes.
Careful examination of the town’s strengths, weaknesses and developing a game plan. Removing waste, wrinkles, slack. Having a sound current strategy, long term goals that match it. One course of action that all the local community, the small Maine town says buys into, embraces. That sounds prudent. Let’s get behind it. Give it a whirl as Kevin said about TV dinners. While quizzing the bored gum chewing teeny bop store clerk. As his parents, family was away for the holidays. And he had to fend for himself. Protect the home front. We have critical work to do in our small Maine towns. It starts with education.
The hard reality of small Maine town living is if small business owners ran the town, made the tough choices and critical maneuvers to get back on course, those affected would shun patronizing the shop keeper, service provider.
Often taking it personally. But like cancer, it can be beat. With tough decisions, facing economic reality. For the greater good, not to feather the cap of a few who like things pretty much the way they roll currently.
It does depend on who’s ox is getting gored in life.
The painful pruning, reallocation of funding will be felt, carried by all to guarantee a speedy, healthy recovery of the ailing small Maine town economy. Has to be that way to get the majority of the small Maine town to sign on, help row that boat. Not so gently down the current economically turbulent class five rapids stream.
Let’s all do our home work for the small Maine towns we are proud to call home. Learn more about the life and death of small town America. Learn how to attract or how to cause small business owners to abandon small towns. The problems are complex, dubbed the “brain drain” but realization that small town rural areas can be the ground zero of sustainable green agricultural based living.
Embrace small Maine town living. Because that is what Maine is, 108 small communities, a handful of cities. What makes it so special, tightly knit. But also presents the greatest challenges for survival.