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Editorial: SCALE a good model to follow

Daily Globe

The beginning of a new year often represents an opportunity for a fresh start. It may not have been coincidental, then, that Scott County Administrator Gary Shelton paid a visit to Worthington on Jan. 10.

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The point of Shelton’s trip to Worthington was to discuss the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE). Fittingly, individuals including officials from the city of Worthington, Nobles County and the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC) were in attendance to hear his message.

“Going back some time ago, we took a look at it and said, ‘OK, we really need to figure out how does a small county make itself relevant within the metropolitan area,” explained Sheldon of SCALE, which was formed in spring 2003 as a way of encouraging intergovernmental cooperation. The program’s mission, as reported in Saturday’s Daily Globe, “is to explore new and innovative ways through which government entities can collaborate to provide superior services while making the most of limited resources.”

We wouldn’t by any means suggest that collaboration between the city of Worthington and Nobles County, as well as other entities, doesn’t exist today. However, there is clearly interest in establishing something along the lines of SCALE in our backyard — after all, why was Shelton invited to Worthington in the first place?

Shelton noted in his presentation that Scott County has added 4,566 jobs since SCALE’s formation and had a business investment of $454.3 million. While formation of a similar association doesn’t guarantee those types of numbers, of course, it does demonstrate a deeper level of commitment to collaboration. And, while more jobs and plentiful investment are always nice benefits, issues pertaining to housing — which WREDC manager Abraham Algadi cited at the end of Friday’s meeting with Shelton — are paramount here, and are only expected to become more so in years to come.

We are hopeful the formation of something like SCALE carries great weight among key decision makers.