Dang it, Steve. The thing is, I really like you, and I think you’ve done good things for the community.
But it kind of sticks in my craw when I read in the Plain Talk that the Vermillion Area Chamber and Economic Development Company is offering relocation funding up to $5000 for victims of the Missouri River flood–that is, if they buy at least 100K worth of house or build a new one [Travis Gulbrandson, "VCDC offers flood relocation program," 24 June 2011].
What this says to me is that the VCDC wants people who could afford nice homes on the river to bring their wealth to Vermillion (a truly shocking revelation). If you had a modest place that flooded out or you lost everything, well, don’t expect a helping hand. The VCDC isn’t offering relocation incentives to young people starting out or families trying to regain their footing in tough circumstances.
I think I have a better idea. Sure, it won’t make the realtors quite as much cash, but what if the VCDC looked at their priority job development areas–say, food business or light industry or the non-profit sector–and then considered the more modest salaries those people might expect? And then what if the VCDC decided to incentivize on an inverse scale?
Instead of offering more money as the price of the house goes up, why not offer more incentive as the price goes down? People who can afford a $100K house probably don’t need a $3K grant, but I’ll bet a young (or not-so-young) person or couple looking in the $75-80K range could be enticed by that figure. How about a slightly larger grant for people looking in the very modest range–an incentive to help fix up some of the not-so-lovingly-cared-for dwellings?
Now, that would be a strategy that wouldn’t make me choke so much on that final story quote from VCDC Executive Director, Steve Howe–that “…we’re taking care of our own.”