Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ten Ideas to Save Municipalities Money... #10 Ditch Calgary Economic Development

Ten Ideas to Save Municipalities Money... #10 Ditch Calgary Economic Development

#10 -- Economic development

Community economic development has been one of the least cost-effective enterprises of municipalities. Millions of dollars have been spent in an attempt to bring new businesses into communities across Canada, with very little success. The reason is simple: new businesses are more likely to be attracted to a community with reasonable tax levels and a healthy progressive business environment than to one that is in a steady state of decline.

What these offices should have been doing was to concentrate on keeping their existing businesses happy and healthy. Business retention and expansion activities have helped to avoid the continual deterioration of jobs, particularly if these retention efforts were aimed at helping businesses to strengthen the quality of their operations. Several municipalities have initiated business incubator programs to promote new businesses, started training programs for new and existing businesses, and changed legislation to encourage businesses operated in homes. Joint committees of business, labour and government have had much success, as have apprenticeship programs designed by businesses and schools. The best economic development programs seem to emerge from strong community-based strategic plans because the best ideas are captured and strong support is more likely.

Municipal decision making can be affected by concerned and informed citizens. However, it will take perseverance on the part of a community s citizens, combined with sound political leadership and enlightened management. The main difference between municipalities with excellent services and low tax rates compared to those with average or poor services and high tax rates is the degree to which they strive to find a better way to deliver services.

Full article: Ten Ideas to Save Municipalities Money

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