Dear Editor:

When you are getting a good return, keep investing.

The county invested $35,000 in the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation in 2012, resulting in (conservatively) 50 new jobs, mostly from the growth of existing small businesses. Precisely what it was supposed to do. From a strict “Return on Investment” (ROI) standpoint, the CDC was a good investment.

In essence, and grossly over-simplified, the county paid $700 per job for 50 jobs in the private sector of Archuleta County. That is a great investment. Those 50 jobs will inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into our economy every year for at least several years. The well-established “multiplier effect” will triple those impacts and generate other jobs.

Fact is that nearly all successful communities have (and partially fund) something like our PSCDC. Without a PSCDC, we would have to rely almost entirely on the town manager for economic development and business retention. Not a good idea or investment, as we have seen. Four years, zero jobs, Reservoir Hill fiasco, divided citizenry, etc.

From the beginning, I have been one of the harshest critics of the PSCDC and, ironically, at the same time one of its most ardent supporters, keeping “feet in the fire” on accountability for our investment of”tax dollars, while helping and encouraging momentum, when asked.

Some of us have stuck with the PSCDC because we recognize that it is necessary and critical to our future vitality and viability as a business community. In spite of its inept beginnings and early toxic political and personal entanglements, the new board and staff have found their footing and are delivering on the PSCDC’s promise. Jobs.

By the publication date of this edition of The SUN, and likely in it, more tangible evidence of the tremendous progress and potential of the PSCDC will be news across the county. We must keep investing in small businesses and new businesses through the PSCDC. It is working. Now we just need to show maturity in our leadership, thinking and actions about economic development.

Michael Whiting

This story was posted on October 17, 2012.