How Brownsville Economic Development Council got a boost from a Browns County Sheriff
Posted November 14, 2019 05:16:25 When Browns, Tennessee, resident and local economic development council member James Meegan first became interested in Browns Valley Economic Development in November 2016, he didn’t think much of the local business boom.
“I thought it was just a bit of a dream, a pipe dream,” said Meeggan, who was born and raised in the area.
“I thought this is just another piece of the urban fabric.
I thought it wasn’t something that we could have any hope of really doing something.”
But Meegggan’s enthusiasm soon turned to worry when his concerns were met with little to no response.
“We’ve been in the news for a couple of months now and we’re not getting a lot of attention,” Meeghan said.
“We’ve had about 10 people on our team here in town, but that’s not good.”
Meegan said he was dismayed that when he inquired with the county’s chief financial officer about potential funding for the council, he was met with a bland response.
Instead of getting answers to his questions, Meegans frustration boiled over.
“They said they don’t have any money to support the economic development program,” he said.
Meegans fears are not unfounded.
In fact, in the last month, the Browns-Valley Economic Development Corporation, which has about 30 employees, has received about $12,000 in state grants.
The grants come from the Economic Development Tax Credit Program, a county program meant to support local businesses, Mueggans said.
The grants are meant to help with the cost of salaries and benefits for the agency’s full-time staff, which include its employees, office managers, and other staff.
But Muegan said the funds are only available to Browns county residents, and even the small grants are often not enough to help them get by.
“It’s hard for a small town like Browns to get a grant to fund things like a car wash or a restaurant,” he explained.
“It’s kind of hard for our small businesses to get that kind of money to go into their businesses.”
Moegan, a Brown County native who is a registered Democrat, is also frustrated that the Brown’s Valley Economic District, which includes Brownsville and surrounding communities, does not receive any funding from the state or federal government.
“There’s so many things that have gone wrong in this community,” he added.
“The Browns are a very diverse community.
I just feel like we’re going backwards.
There are people who have been here since the 1880s who have owned businesses.
We need to do a better job of getting the people that live here involved in this process.”
Browns Valley has a lot to offer.
It’s a very small community.
The county is not making any money.””
So I’m disappointed that the county doesn’t have the money to get our economic development in place.
The county is not making any money.”
While the local economic revitalization program is not funded directly from the county, it is managed through a partnership between the county and the regional economic development agency, the Regional Economic Development Authority.
The state has been funding the program since 2012.
According to county Executive Director James S. Jones, the county has about $300,000 to spend on the program and it is working on hiring and staffing the full-timers.
“Our plan is to bring the people from the region back to Brownsville to work for us,” Jones said.
“If you look at the number of businesses that have been created in Brownsville, there are a lot in Browns Valley.
We’re trying to bring more people back here and create more jobs.”
This is not something that the government is going to step in and do,” he concluded.
Jones added that the state is working with the Regional Development Authority to help local businesses get some of their grants.”
What the state has done for us is to make sure we get the resources that we need,” Jones explained.
The Regional Development authority has received more than $6 million in funding over the past three years, according to Jones, and has a plan to spend $10 million this year to create 30 new jobs.
According a 2016 report by the Tennessee Economic Development Agency, there were about 10,000 businesses in the state, with nearly $9 billion in total economic activity in 2016.”
Brown’s Valley, in our opinion, is the most important economic development district in the county. “
That’s why the state of Tennessee has been so committed to creating jobs in Browns County.”
“Brown’s Valley, in our opinion, is the most important economic development district in the county.
It has created a huge amount of jobs in our community, and we can only hope that the regional development agency will do their part in making that happen,” he noted.”
Unfortunately, there has been little