McManaman Seeks Re-Election on Owen Sound Council

Jim McManaman - Owen Sound City Council

Jim McManaman – Owen Sound City Council

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

I am 45 years old and I was born and raised in the Owen Sound area. I am married with 3 young children. I have been a professional Firefighter for 24 years and an Acting Captain for 6 years. My community background involves being a member of the Kiwanis Club and Minor Soccer for nearly 30 years. I was first elected to City Council in 2003.

The City faces many challenges and financial pressures, including a large infrastructure deficit and the loss of nearly a million dollars in provincial government funding. That will require tough decisions and strong leadership from Council. But as we move forward, we can’t lose focus on what makes Owen Sound great…our sports, culture, parks and natural attractions. I want to continue to build a community that makes Owen Sound a place…where you want to live. Where you want to raise your family. Where your business will prosper.‎

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

For Owen Sound business to prosper, and keep tax increases to a minimum, we must grow the tax base. This means attracting more businesses and more individuals and families to locate here. Marketing, promotion and working together with the business community will help us grow. The relationship does not have to be adversarial…the business community and the City must start working together. When businesses are successful, the City is successful.

What strategies do you have in mind to stimulate economic growth in the region?

Over the last 8 years, Owen Sound has reduced the tax ratios for all business classes. The industrial tax ratio has seen significant reductions of over 14%…commercial tax ratios have been reduced at a similar rate…all in an effort to make those sectors more competitive with the rest of the province and stimulate economic growth. That work continues. Assessment growth, both business and residential, is key for the City’s financial future.

The business community and the City must start working together. When businesses are successful, the City is successful.

Do you feel economic growth should focus on:

A) Bringing in new business developments, or

B) Encouraging small businesses presently in operations?

I believe that Councils role is to create the climate which allows businesses, individuals and families to prosper and grow. Council should understand what the resources are that small businesses need to be successful and then work to build networks and platforms to provide those resources in a way that is reliable and affordable.

We have a variety of tools to encourage business growth and investment…the downtown facade improvement program, the vacant lands tax assistance program and our contaminated lands clean-up tax incentive program. The Business Enterprise Centre has also had great success focusing on small business start-up and expansion. These are all are excellent examples of what the City can do to attract and help business.

Do you think local business taxes should be:

A) Increased

B) Decreased

C) Maintained at current levels

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my time on Council is balancing the services people want with the taxes people want to pay. Committing now to a zero tax increase or a reduction without first consulting with the public about what services they want to see reduced or eliminated would not be responsible. The only sustainable way to mitigate tax increases on the business and residential ratepayer is to keep cost increases stable and to grow the tax base.

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

A regional approach to sharing all of the services in Owen Sound and Grey and Bruce is the long term solution for many issues…tourism, economic development, recreation, police and fire services, waste management and more. That will require respectful discussions based on the principle of fairness for all the citizens of this area. I am in favour of investigating a wide range of options, including a regional governance model, municipal amalgamations and/or modifying the City boundaries.

 

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