Going above and beyond

Published 8:34 pm Monday, August 25, 2008

The Marengo County Commission received the 17th Annual Award for Excellence in County Government – Rural Category, an award which recognizes innovative and effective programs initiated or completed between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, in counties with a population of less than 75,000.

The Marengo County Commission was approached by Linden Lumber Company, Ltd. with a request for financial assistance. Foreclosure proceedings had been initiated against the company, the county’s second-largest employer. Seeing that this kind of job loss would cripple our small county, the commissioners found a way to help rather than brace for impact.

The request to help save the company took the form of a $7-million loan guarantee through a county bond issue, justified under Amendment 772, which passed in 2006. Essentially, more than 400 jobs were spared.

The bond issue resolution demonstrated good faith in working to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution and facilitated getting all the parties to the negotiating table. By taking such a unique approach to economic development, MCC met its objective of saving a major business critical to the economic well-being of the county while protecting the county’s financial assets in return.

The investment in saving those jobs is a tremendous investment in our community and the health of our labor force.