Letter: Is Mathews local government bad for business?
I live and own my business in Mathews County. Not exactly a metropolis, but at this point of my life it is a quality-of-life thing, and I have some clients outside of the area—with e-mail, phones and my convertible I can do business anywhere on the East Coast.
I love it here. It is a little bit of country and a little bit of Rock-n-Roll. It’s the best place on earth!
In Mathews County we are so blessed to have so many generous philanthropists of both money and time that we have such a beautiful community with low tax rates.
When people in Mathews see something that needs fixin’ they call their friends, and get it done. No whining. No complaining. No bragging. Just feeling good about doing something good for the place you call home. This is a great way of life that is lost on most of today’s society. I love the role I get to play in our community.
Twice a year we have two huge events that bring people from outside Mathews to the county to shop, check out our beautiful waterways, and see the wonderful community our volunteers have made possible. These events are Mathews Market Days and the Tour de Chesapeake. Both are wonderful events organized by volunteer committees.
Just to let you know how amazing we are, Mathews was selected as the Fifth Coolest Town in America by Budget Travel this year.
For years, Mathews County—approved by the board of supervisors—has paid for the insurance for these huge events.
From a business owner’s perspective, these events bring business to Mathews County, and visitors spend lots of money eating, drinking, shopping in our unique shops and art galleries and staying at our awesome cottages and B&Bs—one Mathews B&B, The Inn at Tabbs Creek, was even selected as one of Virginia’s top three B&Bs by Virginia Living Magazine.
As a citizen it is nice to have the increased sales, with sales tax collected, but no strain on long-term county services. It is a win-win.
This is the second year that the volunteer chairmen of these committees had to practically beg for the county to provide insurance for these events. This bothers me!
Mathews has minimal governmental services. No Chamber of Commerce to speak of. No Economic Development Department.
So everything that happens is through the board of supervisors, individual business owners, and the volunteers mentioned above who give so much of their time and treasure.
Let’s think what would happen if Mathews Market Days and the Tour de Chesapeake organizers come to the conclusion that it is not worth the time and effort to raise the funds for the insurance, and decide that this is all a headache they’d rather not have.
What happens to these enormous events? We don’t have a parks and recreation department to take over. Who will organize these events?
Will the board of supervisors reimburse local businesses for the revenues lost? Will they purchase the wares from local artists? Will they tell the volunteer civic organizations who use these events to raise money for scholarships, or other needs in the county, that they are not able to raise this money unless they pay more?
Two events, over four days of an entire year, and the board of supervisors balks over insurance policies?
Local governing boards need to look at the big picture for these events, and support volunteers in any way they can. Public service is about making certain the needs of the locality are met. And yes, large festivals are needed to bring people to small localities that are pretty darn cool like Mathews.
As a business owner, you have to be willing to fight for what is right to create an environment that will allow you to stay in business and make a profit.
Cobbs Creek, Va.