To the editor:

Like other less populated Indiana counties, Jefferson suffers stagnation. Staying in place does not advance quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunity. Given natural assets and community-minded citizens we can do better.

A solution is within reach. ACT, a political body, and industry leaders, a voluntary team, are leading distinct and separate movements with the common goal to advance our community.

As concerned citizens it is our responsibility to immediately call for these two groups to come together to form a common path.

Although the mayor's initiative stalled, it spurred new actions now taking place on parallel fronts, one being driven by industry leaders and the other by the Advanced Collaboration Team (ACT), which is sanctioned by City Council, County Council and town of Hanover.

Industry leaders have initiated a Quality of Life survey, which is a natural and welcomed first step for economic development planning.

The ACT team, composed of a representative from their respective public bodies, is drafting an interlocal agreement essential for governing in collaboration.

Regrettably, neither ACT nor industry leaders are partnering for reasons unclear to citizens. It is good to have industry leaders funding the survey. It is good to have elected representatives crafting language to ensure common accountability. This is a call to bring parties together.

Industry leaders lack political wherewithal to implement a community-wide plan. ACT officials would greatly benefit from the funded industry leader survey.

It is time for these parties to set a come-together plan, one which finally turns over economic development leadership to a politically-led board fully responsible for community development. In turn this entity should continuously seek citizen ideas, essential funding and community partnerships, industry leaders included.

Dick McCracken