Monday, February 16, 2015

Chamber of Commerce Addresses City Council

Calls For Commercial Tax Freeze Until 2020

Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Chair, Ms. Marianne Turley addressed Nanaimo City Council on Monday night and presented council with some 'Guiding Principles' and 'Priorities' for council to consider as they embark on the next four years of their mandate.

On behalf of the Chamber she offered the following list of guiding principles:


Leadership & Teamwork – The Chamber asks Council to set a clear direction and define the vision it intends to pursue for the City. Council needs to seek consensus with the community and collaborate with its partners to meet goals more efficiently and achieve its vision.

Maximize Core Service Efficiencies – Don’t spend what you don’t have to! There are many models for program and service reviews that can help us ensure the city budget is delivering the greatest value for the goods and services demanded by the taxpayer.

Transparency & Community Input – Every candidate committed to open communications. Now,  Council members needs to seek meaningful, ongoing input from residents in every format and through every medium. Council should be engaging in two-way communications and adopt strategies to reflect community input in policy-making.

Be Informed, Engaged and Responsible – The community needs you to focus on making informed opinions and decisions only, permitting you to vote on the value of a proposition, not the politics of it -- especially in the heat of the moment.


Strive for Community Prosperity – Initiate policies that promote healthy private, public and not-for-profit business activity partnering with organizations that help obtain results. Jobs, and our community’s economic security, are premised on these sectors’ sustained health and growth

Ms. Turley presented the following suggested priorities for this City Council going forward:

  • Updating the 2012-2015 Corporate Strategic Plan to keep pace with Council’s vision for the coming term. The Chamber would assist in integrating the principles of its Successful Cities program again to the updated plan.
  • Leading a ‘Green Tape’ Committee -- a Mayor’s Task Force or Standing Committee seeking areas where municipal processes can be streamlined and made more user-friendly. Remove bureaucratic barriers, ease congestion, fully engage ‘city hall’ in this review.
  • Reviewing development & building permit procedures, compare with best practices from other communities, seek efficiencies and define processes to meet stakeholder-supported timelines. 
  • Overhauling Sign Bylaws with the Chamber taking a lead position on a Mayor’s Task Force to reduce over-administration and collaborate on stakeholder goals for reasonable legislation and aesthetic oversight.
  • Core Review: Thanks for moving ahead so quickly on a process the Chamber has been promoting for years. Let’s make sure we define achievable goals in the ‘discovery process’, and choose an EXTERNALLY GUIDED review that includes broad community and stakeholder participation. Most importantly, we must follow through on action items. The Chamber looks forward to playing a leadership role in this process.
  • Relaxing the current, inordinate burden on commercial property owners by freezing tax increases on Commercial Rate Payers until 2020, the simplest statement we can make. We have a comprehensive presentation we’d like to make to Committee of the Whole and the Finance Committee where we can demonstrate the positive value proposition of this move over the long term.

allvoices

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