Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

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Jul 05

Cranberry Township's blooming economy

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 2:10 PM by Jerry Andree

Our Board of Supervisors requires staff to constantly evaluate the effects of public policy decisions, which include ordinances and investments in public infrastructure.  This review process is to assure the end result is consistent with the expectation. To accomplish that task we monitor many factors, including employment data, private investment in the community and other key economic indicators. We have completed a review of the most current data and it includes some very upbeat information about Cranberry’s economy, and I’d like to share it with you.

For one thing, the number of new jobs created here just since 2002 has hit 11,500, for a grand total of 24,000. That’s a whopping 92 percent increase. We’ve also seen a significant investment in non-residential development, with lots of new offices, hotels, and retail construction during the past year alone. In March we had over $11 million in new commercial construction – almost half of which was for Talisman Energy’s expanded headquarters in Thorn Hill Industrial Park. And last month we had our biggest April in five years.

Our residential development is moving along nicely as well. In addition to conventional subdivisions, it also includes apartments, traditional neighborhoods, townhomes and retirement communities.

And all three of those indicators – jobs, commercial construction, and new housing – are related; new employment requires new work space and new employees require new homes.

Some people might think it’s strange at a time when America’s economy has been under tremendous stress, and unemployment is high, and our national recovery is often characterized as fragile, that Cranberry could have such huge economic growth. After all, we’re all part of the same country, aren’t we?

Of course the answer is ‘yes.’ But it’s also a reflection of the fact that national economic figures are composites – they average together places that are doing well, places that are doing badly, and those that are just treading water. It’s sort of like the weather; you can come up with an average temperature for the country, but you’d be wrong for most places. We already know most of the reasons that weather varies from place to place, but what about variations in the economy?

Let me suggest an answer: it’s that local economic health is heavily influenced by local laws, local taxes, local policies, and local investment. And each locality is different. Cranberry's new numbers offer convincing evidence that the Township's success at a time of regional and national stress is a reflection of the vision and priorities our community has articulated through a collaborative and transparent process. The Board of Supervisors, in response, have been taking concrete steps to implement those priorities and vision through public policy decisions, including investments in infrastructure, through an equally transparent process.

The community's over-arching goal: to create an environment where private investment can succeed, where property values grow, and where families can flourish. A spin-off of achieving this goal is the creation of an environment that attracts quality employers that share similiar goals. The numbers confirm we are on target with the expectations of those public policy decisions and investments in infrastructure.

I have had the honor of working in local government for nearly 35 years and am pretty passionate about it. I have seen what’s happening across the spectrum of government in Pennsylvania up close and personal, and much of it isn’t pretty. As I have said here in the past, I feel blessed to work for a community where many residents and businesses are committed to do what it takes to keep Cranberry Township a premier, sustainable community. Plus, our governing body "gets-it" and embraces collaboration in managing our local government.

So to the thousands of residents and business leaders who have pitched in to move Cranberry forward, I salute you. You are the reason for our success – a success clearly reflected in the most current economic and employment numbers. Thank you!

As always, your feedback is welcome, jerry.andree@cranberrytownship.org

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