It’s nearly summertime in Kentucky. Federal stimulus monies are coming. People are getting vaccinated. City halls, businesses, schools and churches are gradually reopening. We can finally see a beacon of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
So, what’s next for Kentucky cities?
What can cities do with the stimulus funding? How will this latest round of funding impact my city? How can I leverage the funds to get the most benefit for my city? How bad is the economy? What can we do now to spur growth and get people back to work? These are questions local officials are asking all across Kentucky, and the Kentucky League of Cities has been working on responses since this time last year. KLC has now launched a new initiative focused on the economic development role of cities and city leaders.
In 2020, KLC undertook an organizational strategic planning process. You, our members, made it clear that economic development is important. You asked KLC to provide more resources, tools and assistance to help your city in areas of community and economic development. We have taken your input and now offer more in-depth training and hands-on assistance.
During the KLC City Officials Academy, attendees learned about the power they have as city officials. With your power to convene local leaders, offer economic incentives, invest in local infrastructure and beauty, you can maintain safety and improve the quality of life for citizens.
To help your city expand economic development opportunities and grow jobs, KLC formalized a partnership with Murray State University (MSU). This new relationship allows KLC to better inform elected leaders about best practices when working alongside economic development professionals within their cities.
Nothing can kill a deal faster than a misstep among elected leaders who do not understand their roles or responsibilities. Through the partnership, KLC is working with the MSU Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (CEED) to provide tactical training and informational services.
KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney said, “The partnership with MSU will produce long-term economic impacts and provide a model that can be replicated across the commonwealth. We’re also working with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and other partners such as the Kentucky Association for Economic Development. These relationships allow us to provide more tools and resources to city leaders to make our cities more attractive for community and economic development.”
To further assist cities, KLC will host the ACE Conference featuring training on alcoholic beverage control, code enforcement and economic development. On Thursday, June 17, cities will have the opportunity to learn more about how to improve their city’s economic development opportunities. Topics will address small business development and entrepreneurship, how to structure deals with potential firms, and how site selectors make their decisions on where to locate an industry.
For immediate assistance with community and economic development, please contact Tad Long or Bobbie Bryant. You can also visit www.klc.org/cds. There, you can download several toolkits and other resources to help your city succeed.
Murray State University President Dr. Bob Jackson said, “We are very excited to partner with the Kentucky League of Cities as we advance economic development initiatives throughout the state. We have a tremendous responsibility to assist the commonwealth in promoting high-quality, high-value educational and training programs through our Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development as well as other academic units as we further develop our economy and workforce."
10 Things You Should Know
1. Your local economic strengths and weaknesses.
2. Your community’s place in the broader regional economy.
3. Your community’s economic development vision and goals.
4. Your community’s strategy to attain its goals.
5. Connections between economic development and city policies.
6. Your regulatory environment.
7. Your local economic development stakeholders and partners.
8. Your local business community needs.
9. Your community’s economic development message.
10. Your economic development staff.
Source: The Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development by the National League of Cities Center for Research and Innovation