The new comprehensive plan should include a theme to “Grow Rural Investments & Proﬁts.”
Choosing what to address beyond the required themes of land use, transportation, and community facilities is the first step in drafting a comprehensive plan in Kentucky. Mason County’s choice of themes needs to consider these facts. (Throughout this discussion, historical dollars values are restated in their 2022 equivalent)
Mason County’s population is declining. In 1981 the population was 18,314. In 2021 the population was 16,931. That is a DECREASE of 7.6%. During that same period, the KY population grew 22.9%, and the US population grew 44.6%.
Real Estate Property Assessment is declining. Local real estate property assessments peaked at $965.4 million in 2011. In 2022, assessments are only $830.4 million. This is a DECREASE OF 13%.
The 2017 USDA census shows Mason County’s agricultural income has declined since 1974. In 1974 Mason county’s crop sales were $64 million but only $24 million in 2017. That is a DECREASED 62.5%. In 1974 livestock produced sales of $36 million but only $14 million in 2017. This is a DECREASE of 61%.
Agricultural Land Use – Between 1974 to 2017, Mason County increased the acres of cropland harvested annually by more than 24,000 acres to compensate for the loss of tobacco and dairy income. Soybeans cause high soil erosion. No crop year before 2001 had more than 1,200 acres of soybeans harvested in our county. In 2021 Mason County harvested 11,100 acres of soybeans. Signiﬁcant topsoil loss due to these extra acres of cropland is evident in our watershed. Continuing current levels of erosion will deplete our land’s agricultural potential. Cash grain corn and soybean crops use several agricultural chemicals that remain in our soil and watersheds.
Our comprehensive plan needs a strategy that grows rural investment & profits. While also conserving local topsoil, reducing chemical pollution, improving local water quality, not requiring long-term transportation infrastructure improvements, and placing minimal loads on existing public services.
Participating in Joint Planning Commission’s web survey (by clicking this link) is a way to ask that the next comprehensive plan addresses the theme, “Grow Rural Investments & Proﬁts”. Successfully solving this theme will dramatically improve Mason County’s prospects.