Matt Simmons, managing partner of Maxwell Hendry and Simmons, a local real estate appraisal firm, recently shared his views on how Lee County is responding to the economic impact of Hurricane Ian.
“Anytime you go through something like this, you look for some level of past experience to refer to,” Simmons said. “We don’t really have the territory to measure this.”
Simmons then addressed other factors influencing this region’s recovery.
“We can be, you know, performing really well as an economy and have all the right things,” he continued. “But a lot of what’s driving our tax dollars is what’s going on at a macroeconomic level outside of our market. And so I think it’s fair to say that we’ve already seen for several months before the storm, some of the macroeconomic factors that have they are already happening in other areas”.
So could Lee County have been better prepared economically to absorb the blow thrown by Hurricane Ian?
“If there was ever a county that you would look at and say, ‘gosh, you know, there’s as big as they can be.’ I think it’s Lee County, based on what just happened. I mean , our economy has been on fire here. We’ve been hitting on all cylinders. 28% population growth since 2010. Our job growth rate has been 530% greater than the national average over the same period time. We recently dropped to 2.6% unemployment rate and most of our jurisdictions from municipalities have record revenues. We have given ourselves everything we can to be able to succeed.”
He concluded, “There’s often an economic boom that happens after a disaster. Not that any of us would want it for that reason. But there’s a certain amount of trade that has to happen. It has to happen quickly. But for some of those who are worried about, you know, the last exit from the economy, there’s a tremendous inflow of capital here right now. But, I think our economy is in really good health.”
Karen Moore is a contributing partner for WGCU and publisher of SWFL Business Today.
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