I would also like to see the county grow, both in population and economically. However, the deck is stacked deeply against this.
Rush County has lost nearly 15 percent of its population since 1970. This was the time when the county implemented comprehensive zoning. Policies that are used to control the citizens and deter small businesses of Rush County by the Area Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, thus controlling economic and population growth in the county. These boards serve self interest groups that have no interest in growing Rush County. It is easier to own 10,000 hogs in a CAFO than to own a chicken in your backyard.
Our neighboring Franklin County has steady growth. Perhaps it would be better if we follow their lead by disbanding the self-interest boards and allowing its taxpayers each a single vote on policies.
The ECDC is equally at fault. Last year we learned of the ECDC’s “pay-to-play” policy. The ECDC and county government are working with Germany based Nordex to construct the Flatrock Windfarms. The tax abatements and tax credits necessary will make this venture profitable for Nordex and the large landowners who have leases for the turbines, but will drive out the small landowners and residents in the area. This will decrease the residential property values by making it an undesirable part of the county to live in. But it will be a good place to construct more CAFO installations. Yes, by default, it’s possible that the displaced residents will be forced to move to single lot subdivisions of “generous sized lots” along the municipal sewer lines, if they want to live in Rush County. Otherwise they still have the freedom to move to and live in other parts of the state, perhaps on lots larger than your “generously sized lots.” Without a viable population in the area, it will no longer be necessary to have a school in the northern part of the county. Perhaps this was in the vision of the key stakeholders: city and county government, the school corporation, the healthcare system, the Chamber of Commerce and obviously, the ECDC.
The policy makers cater to the international developers and the industrial livestock producers while abandoning and stifling the small landowners, small business owners, citizens and independent farmers in the county.
Sadly though, I believe the appointment of Mr. McCane, who is well connected politically and has a solid grasp of the interrelationship between all the major stakeholders and major players, will offer no change in the direction of the county.
Resident, taxpayer and voter
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