by Mayor BJ Murphy
Kinston has been victim to several cowardly crimes this year that provoked our Department of Public Safety to implement a “zero tolerance” policy. Our pro-active community policing efforts have increased and with the support of generous donors, The Free Press and confidential informants, several outlaws have been apprehended.
A former classmate approached me earlier this year and said the city needs to “nip the problem in the bud” — to which I respectfully replied that nipping in the bud starts at home, not with the government. The government has an obligation to serve and protect, but also to develop a positive business environment in which to create jobs. Generally speaking, more jobs equal less unemployment, which can lead to a reduction in crime. And creating jobs is a top priority.
The City of Kinston supports job creation in a number of ways: through economic partnerships, access to water and sewer, and competitive industrial rates. On a macro scale, we encourage the efforts of the NC Department of Commerce, alongside the Lenoir County Economic Development Department, as it relates to their recruitment of jobs to our area.
On a micro scale, city tax payers financially support the efforts of Pride of Kinston to decrease vacant buildings and increase economic activity in downtown. We are members of the Chamber of Commerce and celebrate every new member with them. However, there seems to be a missing link.
There is no entity or person actively responsible for recruiting and retaining small businesses who locate outside of downtown. Pride of Kinston focuses on downtown, the Chamber serves its members and Economic Development focuses on large, manufacturing-oriented businesses.
As we welcome our new city manager and vote on new council members next month, we must be ever mindful of the need to fill this gap. If job creation is truly a top priority, then we should also identify policies that we could relax or modify to reduce burdens for construction projects and start-up businesses. We must be willing to do a gut check of any burdensome regulations so our community can help develop solutions, while our council oversees a manager who will implement them.
Next year, the City of Kinston will celebrate 250 years. Let’s make sure job creation, not crime, remains the top headline throughout the year. Our young people deserve for our elected, civic, educational and spiritual leaders to work toward this common goal.
Here’s to our success!
Mayor B.J. Murphy is on Twitter @BJMurphyKinston and has a website at www.BJMurphy.org. The opinions of the guest columnist are not necessarily those of The Free Press.
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