A recent renewed call for merging the Marion and Hillsboro hospitals is a topic worth pursuing. But it also highlights the larger issue facing Marion County: We need more people. Right now, we have too few to pay for some of the major projects we feel would benefit us in the long run.
It’s a vicious circle. We want new and progressive projects so more people are enticed to make their home in Marion County. But the tax revenue required to pay for these public project requires a higher tax rate. At some point that makes Marion County a less inviting destination for potential residents and homeowners, and may even encourage the departure of the ones who already live here.
We work at a variety of levels to bring in new jobs that, in theory, will attract new people. But potential employers hesitate to locate here because we have a shortage of available workers.
How do we begin to turn that circle in a positive direction? In a perfect world, the answer would be clear and attainable. Right now, though, we see through the glass darkly. At times we’re not sure what the right questions are, much less the right answers. But they lie somewhere beyond provincial self-interest. —DR