Milam County reaches another milestone
On Monday, we reached another milestone in Milam County. Almost 100 business leaders, elected officials, school administrators, economic development administrators and chamber members met to discuss economic development in Milam County.
We heard from Mr. Drayton McLane, Chairman State Economic Development in Texas, Mr. Robert Allen, President and CEO of Go Big in Texas and Mr. Bryan Daniel, Executive Director of The Economic Development and Tourism Division (EDT) of the Governor’s Office. What did we learn today?
We learned that we are sitting on a gold mine. We learned that we have many great assets in the County that we can take advantage of to grow this county. The first is location. Milam County is located in the middle of the Texas triangle. This Dallas, San Antonio, Houston triangle is where 70 percent of the Texas population resides. We neighbor Williamson County, which is the sixth largest growing county in Texas with almost 600,000 people. We also neighbor Bell County which is huge employer of many Milam County residents. People living in these neighboring counties are moving here rapidly as our new home starts in the county increased by over 100 percent from 2017 to 2018.
We have three major highways, two major railroads, a large underground water aquifer, plentiful electricity and we close to major universities, which can provide an educated work force. We also learned that I-14 is coming through the county and that it too will bring commerce to the county. Transportation is critical to any new business and we are certainly endowed with ample transportation.
We learned that Rockdale and Cameron are spending a lot of money to fix infrastructure problems in their respective cities. Cameron is spending over $37 million to fix water and sewage problems and Rockdale is spending over $67 million to fix the same problems. These repairs are essential to economic growth and I applaud the city leaders for taking on these most difficult jobs.
We learned that we are getting our county is getting cleaned up. We cannot expect new business leaders to accept stacks of old tires or junk piled up beside our roads. We learned that the cities and the County are working together to get this place looking like the attractive place it truly is.
But most importantly, we learned that every citizen of this county has a vested interest in economic development in this county. To have decent jobs and the tax revenue to run the county, we must grow this county. This will only happen if we all work together. We can’t push a button or pull a lever and expect economic development to magically be solved. It will take planning, vision, courage, money and hard work to get it done.
Today was a huge first step. We are all now talking about this most important issue. Mr. McLane, Mr. Allen and Mr. Daniel made us patently aware that we truly sitting on a gold mine, but that we must work together every day to mine it.
I ask every citizen to think every day of some new way to help with economic growth in our county.