Be cautious, but keep pushing on, Batesville

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

We are living, I’m reminded by the ancient Chinese curse, in interesting times.

Wars, and rumors of wars, are played out nightly on our television screens and in news reports.

Gas prices are soaring, grocery prices continue to climb, and a general cold tightening of the icy fingers of inflation can be felt in purses and wallets nationwide.

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Batesville and Panola County are no exception, and no doubt many families here have recently started discussions about “cutting back” and “finding savings” as the cost of global upheaval reaches our local economy.

Now is the time to become as price conscious as ever, and find ways to avoid waste of any sort. We must hunker down, to a degree, in both city and county government, and from family to family.

But, business must go on.

We know that consumer spending is likely to be curtailed and we realize that money may not flow as freely, and from such wide sources, as the case has been in recent months and years. Surely the high gas prices will shorten trips. Our restaurants, hotels, and stores won’t be as busy and the city will collect less sales tax, dropping our anticipated revenue to some degree.

But, we must not completely close up shop during the upcoming hard economic times. Remember that business will still go on, albeit at a reduced level. The cities and counties that pull back completely and stop their economic development projects, even those that require some local investment, will suffer in the long run.

Let’s not become Nervous Nancies at this critical juncture. Wise, yes. But abandon all plans to increase the livability of Batesville and our surrounding hamlets? Absolutely not.

Don’t fall for the negativity. There are still exciting things happening in Batesville and Panola County and we should carry on, conservatively, with the projects that will result in a better, more vibrant place for future generations.

Much needed infrastructure projects are underway and about to begin. New restaurants are on the way. The Jack’s that will be built across from Sonic is soon to be under construction. The Chick-fil-A owners are continuing to bring the food truck here and test the waters for a brick and mortar store.

Joe Azar is tight-lipped at this point, but assures me that another family chain restaurant will soon be built here – the land has been purchased and the investor is excited about this market.

I have information about a major industry that is very excited about locating here – a move that would bring at least 40 high paying jobs (the lowest employee rate I saw was $26 on their proposal) and be the type of new business that would bring immediate regional attention to the county.

Will all of the projects of the Panola Partnership, private investors, and local governments come to fruition? Of course not. But the mere fact that real money, cash dollars looking for a place to park, is considering our city and county is an indicator we are moving in the right direction.

So, in short, adjust your family’s budget accordingly, but don’t fear the national fear.

Batesville and Panola County are still among the best places to live in the world, certainly in the United States.

Even if the painty-wasted President Biden stalls long enough to allow rogue leaders to shoot their nuclear weapons, we live far enough from presumed targets to perhaps survive a little longer than most.

But I sure wouldn’t want to fight the crowds at Piggly Wiggly if that happens.