Haswell Seeks Re-election

Debra Haswell - Mayor Owen Sound

Mayor Haswell – Owen Sound

Incumbent mayor Deborah Haswell is a 13-year council veteran. She unseated rival candidate Ruth Lovell Stanners by a mere 41 votes in the 2010 municipal election.

A graduate of OSCVI, she pursued post-secondary education at Conestoga College in Kitchener, where she earned a Social Services Diploma – graduating at the top of her class.

She has a long history of community involvement, including the DIA, Chamber of Commerce, Grey Bruce Health Services, Children’s Aid Society. She is former President of Ontario’s Small Urban Municipalities, and has served one term as a City representative on Grey County Council.

Do you have any strategies prepared to encourage local economic growth? Which issue should this next term’s council give to more focus to: A) Bringing in new business developments, or B) encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

Going forward Owen Sound will continue to engage business leaders in regular meetings to discuss strategies to mutually address emerging issues and pursue opportunities to provide support for local business to access provincial, national and international opportunities to grow and expand in Owen Sound. It is indeed with the business leaders in Owen Sound, that, many new business leads exist and are pursued.

In this very new era of economic development for Owen Sound, encouraging and supporting existing business is vital, as well as, attracting new business. In my first term as Mayor, this process was initiated, combined with Council tours of local businesses to bring a greater awareness of our existing business. In my view, the Mayor is the head of Economic Development, business growth and development-specifically reaching out to business opportunities across the province, nationally and internationally. In my next term as Mayor, all of Council will meet quarterly as the Economic Development core, to develop and monitor direction being implemented by staff.

In this very new era of economic development for Owen Sound, encouraging and supporting existing business is vital, as well as, attracting new business.

Close collaboration with the provincial Economic Development ministry, our regional hospital, Georgian College, local businesses combined with actively pursuing emerging opportunities in a focused, targeted approach to secure new business, to complement and expand employment opportunities and investment in our community.

What do you see has been the largest challenge over the last 10 years, faced by business operators in your region?

Challenges generally faced by all businesses over the past decade are broad and complex in many regards. Locally, the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector over the past decade-has had an impact on all businesses in Owen Sound. The job loss in manufacturing is due to globalization, and the increasing consumer demand driving manufacturing to the lowest cost options.

These challenges are global in perspective-but-very much part of the challenge we face locally. Owen Sound is moving away from the large scale manufacturing to an era focused on smaller, innovative manufacturers. The attraction of new residents, to populate an enhanced labour pool is a key thrust of economic strategy for Owen Sound.

The City is committed to continue to reach the range of fairness amongst tax classes-as required by province. Do you think local business taxes are at a fair rate, or should be lowered or raised? Should there be any changes in the municipal services provided to businesses, (such as garbage removal)?

It must be acknowledged the fast pace of change, as it relates to ,an information/ internet based economy, is a clear challenge to many businesses with limited human and financial resources to train their staff on new technologies and acquire the advanced technology to increase efficiency and profitability. The Small Business Enterprise Centre, which is funded in part, by the City, continues to provide support and direction for locally owned small businesses to move forward successfully.

The matter of business taxes has been a challenge for Owen Sound-over decades of relying heavily on the assessment provided by large scale manufacturing, taxation was heavily attributed to large industrial manufacturing sector-providing relief to the residential taxpayer. While this is a highly simplified explanation, it must be recognized that this burden on business taxation took decades to arrive at. The City is committed to continue to reach the range of fairness amongst tax classes-as required by province.

The shift to balance taxation classes in Owen Sound is moving forward. Owen Sound has reduced the large industrial tax class rate by 20% over the past decade. The Commercial Tax rate has been reduced by 15%. This shift has been somewhat painful to the residential taxpayer-and-yet is absolutely essential to the future economic stability of Owen Sound. Fiscal responsibility is not always a popular, or, easy road-however-with careful management of our resources, collaboration with our neighbours, and with other funding sources, including provincial and federal governments-I believe Owen Sound has a bright and promising future for vibrant growth in our business sector.

In my second term as Mayor, I will seek Council’s support, for a comprehensive Operational Audit of all services provided by the City. This wholesale analysis of all services the city provides has not been done. This is a common municipal process, when combined with the city’s Asset Management plan, will provide clear information on the effectiveness of all city departments, and, the resources required to maintain or enhance services. Essentially, the services provided by the city are adequate-all services require constant revision, as we strive to balance fiscal responsibility with services our residents expect. Management are to be challenged to bring innovation and new perspectives on how to provide the services we are mandated to provide-along with-creative, new ideas on how to engage bright, emerging concepts in service delivery methods.

We have a wonderful community, we are on the cusp of such excitement and innovation-we must remind ourselves how very fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world-and-one of the best communities in Canada. Owen Sound-where you WANT to live.

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Learn to Network

Business Networking International (BNI) Sound Networking meets Each Wednesday 7:00 – 8:30 AM at Frog Ponds Cafe

Meet local business people and find out how networking is one of the most effective methods for marketing your business.
Visitors are always welcome, just call ahead to let us know you are coming 519-371-2622.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Basics of Bookkeeping (Three part workshop)
Tuesday September 19th and 26th and Tuesday October 3rd, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room $95 (HST included)
Facilitator: Jane Gallagher
This three part Bookkeeping Workshop will allow you to use the tools and information to confidently understand your financial statements and your own books. Class size is limited to 8 to allow a hands-on, individual learning opportunity for everyone.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

How to “Really” Start a Business
Wednesday September 20th, 9:00 am – 11:30 am, Bayshore Community Centre
FREE – Pre-registration is required
Facilitator: Cliff Bilyea
Discover the basic steps involved in starting a business, evaluating your idea, determining your market and basic rules and regulations. Attending the is workshop is mandatory for anyone applying to the Starter Company Plus Program.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Introduction to Quick Books (Two part workshop)
Tuesday October 17th and 24th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room, $80 (HST Included)
Instructor: Jane Gallagher
The first session of Quick Books provides participants with an overview and access to a trial version of the program. The second session will be questions and answers to address specific issues. Knowledge of basic bookkeeping principles is required. Limited to 8, you must bring your own laptop. (This workshop does not cover the online version of Quick Books)

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Contact

Phone: 519 371 7464
Fax: 519 371 4043
Site: gbbj.biz
Email: editor@gbbj.biz
Address: 954 1st Ave W.
Owen Sound, ON CAN N4K 4K5

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