In my last post I mentioned economic incentives for potential business relocates and startups. I’ll make some suggestions, but alas there is little chance our town council would implement any of them. By its very nature local government is at the bottom of the food chain in terms of being on the receiving end of higher levels of government largesse and they like it that way. The money flow usually stops there.
In terms of business the first thing is always the money. Rick Crouch did a very good property tax comparison on his blog and I am damned if I can find it (link it to me Rick if you read this). We have the 2nd highest property taxes (behind Meaford) in our local area and as I have stated previously property taxes are only going up in the future (unless we get more economic development). For those of you that have never entered into a commercial lease, when you rent commercial space it not like renting a residential property, where the landlord absorbs the property taxes. In a commercial lease, property taxes are added after you have figured out the rental price per square foot. High property taxes end up on the bottom line as a cost of doing business. Why would you come to Collingwood when it’s more affordable, property tax wise elsewhere. So maybe a property tax freeze for 5 years for new startups or relocates? Think of it this way the life blood of this towns finances for the past decade has been development charges. The financial crunch in Collingwood is coming because of a slow down in people relocating here. Every new job is a residence, whether it be purchased or rented, new or existing. That job permeates down through the system from buying a car at a local car dealerships, to bums on seats in local restaurants. So a property tax break would be an investment into future tax revenues.
Another area that this town council has control over, because thankfully they retained 50% of Collus, is the cost of electricity. Ontario, in a large part because of this current provincial governments gas plant shenanigan’s and completely wrong headed and ill-conceived green initiatives, including closing down perfectly good coal generating plants. Has some of the highest electricity rates in North America. When Collus sells us our electricity there is obviously some profit in the transaction, that could be another area where we could incentivize a company coming here if they were to be a high electricity consumer. Imagine what a selling point that would be to a startup company.
Another incentive is fairly simple. A company decides to relocate to this town and decides to build a facility here. EDM studies the business plan if it looks feasible the development fees are waived by the town for a period of 5 years. A charge for the full amount is held against the property. If the business is still operating after 5 years the charges are written off.
Last but not least the town pays a bounty to a potential company of so much per head for every full time job created.
We have to do something to get people’s attention. We all know the lifestyle benefits of living in this area, no crime, good community, summer and winter playground. But how many of us have to go elsewhere to make a decent living? How many of our kids come out of university and return to Collingwood only to be a barista at Starbucks making $12 per hour with a $40k education? There are no factory jobs coming back any time soon and service industry jobs only pass the existing money around from person to person. Working at McDonalds et al is fine if you are a manager, or still in high school, or retired. But it will never pay the rent or support a family.
Real jobs mean economic growth and development. I will stop now because its turning into a rant and the “Professor” will tell me off again.
One more post on this subject and that will deal with Nimbyism.