Struggling to Make

Again it was a bit on the nippy side this morning, but at least it was all the more bearable when seeing the sun pushing thru that high cloud cover. When looking at tonight’s skies, I’d say we’re going to have a bright sunny day tomorrow if there shouldn’t be any clouds moving in during the night.

I had several early phone calls to make, along with getting some docs scanned and emailed out to an agent who was scheduled to show my listing at 305 W. North in Manly. It seems that home is now coming back on the radar because I happened to get a call this afternoon from someone asking questions about it who’s living out of State. After hanging up the phone from that pleasant conversation, I’m growing all the more hopeful the younger and more earth-friendly crowd living in the metro areas of our Country, are now deciding to move to smaller cities and towns in the Midwest which are offering cheaper housing, cleaner air, and less noise.

When the hour of 8:00 am arrived, I bundled myself up and walked down to the Chamber of Commerce Center where our monthly Realtor meeting was being held. When I got there, I found a near banquet-style breakfast being provided by the lending department of First Citizen’s Bank. That bank does an exceptional job whenever giving back to our community and when possible, I make sure to sincerely thank them for all they quietly do.

Our guest speaker this morning was Chad Schreck who’s the head of the North Iowa Corridor which works at attracting and retaining businesses in our County. I was keen on making mental notes of the graphs and numbers being presented, and most of them I agreed with, but couldn’t help noticing that there still aren’t enough higher paying jobs in our County. I only wish he would’ve broken down his percentages a little more, because he had the incomes grouped in too broad a fashion. For example, he had a certain percentage of our population being in the $25K – 50K range.

As far as I’m concerned, lumping that broad of gross-wage earners together, would make me think there are all the more number of workers in the 25K – 30K range, than in those higher thousands, and so cleverly leaving, the average person to think many are closer to 50K. And another shocker was seeing that only 1% of the individuals living in our our County make over 125K per year. Keep in mind, that’s a per-head count which means a household’s combined income would be much greater. Don’t you believe that’s pretty scary when thinking about it?

While walking back to my office, I couldn’t help thinking that the promoters of North Iowa and our City need to re-think what our community’s priorities really are, because if we continue to loose numbers in our population, there’s something we’ve been doing wrong for a very long time. As far as I’m concerned, we need to focus all the more on getting higher paying corporations to locate here. Yes, there are new build-outs being created, but I can’t imagine those numbers working as laborers in a tomato hothouse, will be making stellar wages. There are all the many insisting we need to offer courses at NIACC that’ll create more job opportunities in their beloved “North Iowa”, but if the jobs aren’t here, we’ve helped train the many who’ll likely be moving to metro areas. I’ve known too many who’ve received their nursing degrees here, and only a few years after, moved to Rochester where their pay scales and job opportunities are greater.

Please don’t think me a nay-sayer, because I’m not, but rather consider me a realist who knows there’s an on-going problem in our community which will not end unless we get the general household incomes cranked higher, because there are far too many people living in North Iowa who’re struggling to make ends meet, and it’s continuing to get worse. For example, I just recently compared the “hard costs” of running my real estate office for the years 2018 and 2019, and not being surprised when finding the expenses for water, sewer, and garbage have gone up, the gas and electric, the telephone service, the building insurance, and above all, those wicked taxes.

Now if you think about those who’re locked into the top tiers of their company’s wage scales, where are they going to get the money to make up these year-over-year hikes? You can bet they’re also servicing credit card debt, installment debt, and long-term mortgage payments. Once again, if the promotors of North Iowa business, really want to do a good job for us “natives”, they must diligently work all the harder at getting higher paying companies to locate here. Now that’s my belief, and I’m sticking to it.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Everything that irritates us about others, can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Joe Chodur

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