Comprehensive Plan – Economic Development
Maysville/Mason County’s tradition of excellent cultural, artistic, and governmental institutions exists because of the economic activity developed by prior generations. Through the decades, they continued to adapt as their opportunities changed. They created multiple profitable enterprises based on both rural and urban resources.
In recent decades Maysville/Mason County urban and rural economies lost enterprises that had brought substantial cash into our area. (Tobacco, Milk, Mechanical Power Transmission Equipment, Apparel, Electric Generation …)
Maysville-Mason County Industrial Development Authority has recruited several new companies by focusing on recruiting heavy and light industries to our area.
However the 2017 USDA census shows Mason County’s annual agricultural income (in 2022 dollars) declined $64 million between 1974 and 2017.
Continuous cash grain will not maintain/improve our infrastructure and quality of life. Instead, continuous cash grain depletes our topsoil and spreads ag chemicals in local watersheds.
We should instead recruit ecologically sound large-scale solar arrays.
Mason County’s Electric Transmission Lines
Our next comprehensive plan will improve economic development if it recognizes that Mason County’s extensive long-distance electrical transmission network can allow large-scale solar to:
- Protects our topsoil for future generations.
- Reduces chemical pollution in local watersheds.
- On rural land, large-scale solar arrays place little to no long-term burden on our local community facilities, including services and infrastructure
- Increase the real estate tax base to support local services.
- Increase the number of local high-value job opportunities.
- Helps replace the $64 million of lost tobacco and dairy income
- Protect the land from creeping urbanization
The next Comprehensive plan should strive to gain maximum economic benefit from Mason County’s transmission grid. The plan should call for the solar setbacks to match the setback of the land use zone where the array is located. This will increase the county’s tax revenue, while the state-regulated screening will protect adjoining property owners’ views.
Solar can differentiate our business recruiting efforts. As of January 2020, nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have made public renewable energy, greenhouse gas (GhG), or energy efficiency commitments. 63% of the Fortune 100 companies have pledged to consume more electricity from renewable energy generators. Many companies are seeking rural areas with solar and wind production to support this pledge for their new headquarters and service centers. New solar projects could make Mason County an attractive location for these companies, bringing more skilled jobs and tax revenue for our community.