Long Runs for Deputy Mayor Against Incumbant

David Long - Meaford Deputy Mayor Candidate

David Long – Meaford Deputy Mayor Candidate

First of all, tell us a little about your background and overall platform in 100 words or less.

My wife and I own and operate Red Hills Bed and Breakfast and I am the founder and director of our area association ABBBE.com (A Better Bed and Breakfast Experience.) I started this association three years ago with a budget of $350, which I obtained from rebates for the six original members.

Together with input from B&B owners, local businesses and tourist operators, with whom we partnered, we grew it into the third largest B&B organization in Ontario with minimal support from local governments.  In 2013 our B&Bs bedded and fedded over 8000 paying visitors and referred many  of our guests to other small local businesses.

What do you see as the major issue(s) facing business-owners in Grey-Bruce?

High commercial business taxes. Meaford is the second highest in the area behind Owen Sound.

Too many levels of government especially at the municipal level are involved in controlling small business.  What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

Too many levels of government especially at the municipal level are involved in controlling small business. Entrepreneurs with local experience and ideas should lead the way and be supported by local government. Willing private business operators must be encouraged to succeed, rather  than have their enterprises  restricted.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on:

A) Bringing in new business developments, or

B) Encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

For new business to come here, we have to have suitable economic conditions, a trained workforce, positive social conditions and a ready cost effective infrastructure. Our municipality with its aging population, decreasing workforce and low paying jobs is causing our two main industries, agriculture and tourism to decline. Our third largest industry, Municipal government is the only one expanding. New industries are desirable but until conditions are favourable, we should concentrate on present operations.

Before thinking about investing taxpayer’s money on major expansion projects, let’s look at the basics needed for a solid economic base. What do we have? What do we need? What do we want? And what can we afford?

Our council was playing politics when they refused to invest part of our taxpayer’s 6 million dollar reserves in our health centre and our future. Generally speaking, we have an aging population living on a fixed income who need to downsize and want small inexpensive efficient housing units which will provide local jobs and inventiveness providing a market for the homes that our seniors want to sell. Our new health centre will attract doctors, keep our hospital open and provide good medical care for people wishing to retire here.

Our council was playing politics when they refused to invest part of our taxpayer’s 6 million dollar reserves in our health centre and our future. We taxpayers could be receiving a safe 4% return on investment rather than the present 1-2% which is presently precariously invested. We need to get businesspeople involved in making business decisions and for that, we need citizen advisory boards.

Do you think local business taxes should be:

A) Increased

B) Decreased

C) Maintained at current levels

For the present time, they should be maintained at current levels until a new council has a chance to examine the overall financial picture of our municipality. One of my top three mandates is to Reduce Spending. This will be done but it will be done carefully and prudently with an eye to the future, not to popular demand.

Should there be any changes in the services offered to local businesses?

What services? I didn’t know that we had any apart from anonymous complaints resulting in MPAC showing up at our door.

 

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