STAFF NOTEBOOK: Open for Business?

Open for Business?

Is Liberty Hill ready for a boom in business? Probably not. But can it get ready in time to be a player?

Interestingly enough this week Forbes Magazine listed its top 200 cities in America for business and careers. Texas was well represented with Austin coming in at number 7 nationally. Further, the magazine named  Austin the top place to do business in Texas.

That’s pretty interesting considering those we hear screaming the loudest in Liberty Hill use Austin as the example of the Babylon, Rome, and Sodom & Gomorrah when it comes to tales of oppressive business regulation, politics run amuck etc.

The truth is that less than 45 minutes away is the highest-ranked, pro-business, pro-growth career city in the state, and we don’t know of a more pro-business publication than Forbes.

Some of those who shout the loudest about business don’t seem to really understand what drives real sustained business growth at all. While it’s true that some individual, personal wealth can be earned by selling land, true systematic business growth for the future generally evolves when there is a more centrist, holistic business model in place. Encouraged growth and expanded opportunity mixed with the regulation that is needed to improve property values and attract quality businesses that will be able to earn a profit and make life better for the future residents and taxpayers.

If city managers had their way, there would be too many rules and we agree that is not the answer, especially for a small city that is crossing mid-stream from an individually conducted rural economy to a more suburban area. On the other hand, if self interest, and a no regulation philosophy is allowed to prevail, Liberty Hill will be an example of blight and cheaply developed business areas. More to the middle ground will yield the sweet spot for both business profits and attracting a bright future for our community.

Both sides are dug in, politically speaking. The Independent has tried to show the desperate need for dialogue and balance. And we continue to hope the dialogue will include more voices instead of only those who have helped create the gridlock. If the next set of elected leaders want to serve more than one term, they should look to the high ground located more in the center and not become the tools of either side advocating for the extreme positions.

In the Forbes’ list, Texas boasted an astounding 13 cities listed in the top 200 places for business and careers.

Those included Austin (#7), San Antonio (#8), Dallas (#10), Fort Worth-Arlington (#16), Houston (#19), El Paso (#36), Brownsville (#79), McAllen (#82), Lubbock (#107), Beaumont (#111), Killeen (#112), Laredo (#146) and Corpus Christi (#175).

~~ Charley Wilkison

Two elections this month

While city and school district voters go to the polls Saturday to choose a new Mayor, three members of the City Council and two trustees for the Liberty Hill ISD school board, voters will return to the polls later this month in primary elections.

Voters in Williamson County’s Republican Primary will consider candidates for various county, state and federal offices. Williamson County’s Democratic Party will also hold a Primary election although there are no contested down-ballot races.

Early voting in the primary election is May 14-25 at various locations throughout Williamson County.

Unlike the municipal elections, Liberty Hill will not have an early voting location in the primries.

This week’s edition of The Independent includes an abbreviated Voter’s Guide featuring some candidates who chose to respond to questions asked recently by the Liberty Hill Chamber of Commerce. Chamber officials tell The Independent that every candidate in every race was provided with their questions and given several days to respond.

Despite the interest of the business community and voters in city council and school board races, some candidates appear to have chosen not to communicate publicly with voters on issues of critical importance to our community. And some may be ignoring state law when it comes to reporting their campaign’s financial activities.

The Independent encourages voters to take these elections seriously and participate in the electoral process this month.