We know we live in great place

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A recent report from the Alabama Policy Institute shows that Fairhope earned the top ranking as the state’s most business-friendly city.

Fairhope was followed by Millbrook, Athens, Daphne, Jasper, Prattville, Northport, Montgomery, Center Point and Trussville.

No city or town in Covington County made the cut, I’m disappointed to say. Our neighbors Enterprise, Dothan and Troy did at 11th, 12th and 20th respectively. At the bottom at 49th and 50th were Prichard and Selma.

Following the lead of the Beacon Center of Tennessee’s annual report, “How Business-Friendly are Tennessee’s Cities?”, the API came up with its ranking system.

The formula it used was based on U.S. Census figures, state information on property taxes, education and criminal justice, and even basic Google map searches to measure distance, among other criteria. It scored cities on economic vitality, median per capita income, local sales tax and transportation infrastructure.

Futhermore, it looked at things like recent job growth, community allure, per capita violent crime rate, average SAT scores for eighth grade reading and math and the distance to the interstate highway system and to a port capable of handling container shipping.

When one starts looking at things like distance to the interstate and a port, Covington County just can’t compete with places like Mobile, Birmingham and the like. It’s not geographically possible.

We’re doing well in regards to education, and (while I hope I’m not jinxing us) this isn’t a place where headlines of murder, rape and violent mayhem dominate. Shoot, we’re oozing community allure.

And, while these reports are interesting to read and are good marketing tools, they’re really just a group’s opinion. Reports like this don’t reflect how Covington County boasts a business atmosphere where, if I was a business owner, I would know that I had a customer base where one could depend on me to fix that too-long light fixture like Bob Brooks at Brooks True Value Hardware or to step up in a waterline emergency like the Barnes at Cox’s Hardware in Florala. I would love to know that my customers could count on me come out and fix a refrigerator when the ice maker quit working like the folks at Badcock did or that I could find a super cute something-or-another at places like Ansley Place, Town and Country, Pink Peppers, Simply Chic and the like.

And I didn’t even touch on the good places to eat or to buy a car or to get your hair done.

I don’t think we need a spot on a list to tell us that cities and towns in Covington County are a great place to do business. We know that, and we know it’s a great place to live.