Highlands County is in a serious tight spot. As we are seated on prime real estate in Central Florida about 11 feet above sea level, yet the real estate is actually overpriced. How the land is valued is outrageously foolish. The land is in a prime location but the infrastructure and the business establishments are not properly setup.
Lawyers are going out of business, not because of the lack of their need but because of the lack of their affordability. People here need lawyers bad but cannot retain them. People are losing there homes by the thousands not due to the high price of the homes, but because of the low wages of their employment. It is a mess here, yet we sit on a gold mine.
Historically this was an agriculture township. Now the city that should be flourishing is downsizing because the planning committee is either unethical in an attempt to move people out to sell higher, or they are simply not business savvy. I believe the latter.
The infrastructure is being developed wrong. For example the manufacturing industry here in Highlands County is at about 2.2%, yet the land is saturated with natural resources. Light industry is a must to rebound this economy. Meanwhile the highway is filled with retail stores to cater to Northerners here for the season of good weather during winter months. People cannot pay for their homes on Wal-Mart and K-Mart salaries alone in most cases.
While the medical field is thriving it is a vulture mentality, to only make money on the dying and sick. The veteran population is being run off and there should be an Act from the Congress to curb this. Over 5,000 veterans just abandoned their home here in the last two years because they could not afford the mortgages. If it cost $15 per hour to make the ends meet and the market only offers $9 per hour something has to give.
The solution is easily said and probably can be done as easy as well. The old agricultural money has to be bought out at a far price, based on the projected market that will replace it. This can be done by an outside investment firm. Then manufacturing jobs need to be brought in through taxes and other incentives. We need light industry to bring in the capital that will create a stronger real estate market and support other markets like lawyers, radio stations and advertisement firms and office space. Simply put the missing link in Highlands County Florida is good paying jobs. We need a strong planning committee to attract this into the area. The cost of homes has to be balanced out to a cost of living adjustment. The price of real estate must go down and the salaries must go up or Highlands County is doomed.