The Sault Ste Marie Chamber of Commerce is supportive of the efforts being made at City Hall to recognize potential savings in the 2016 Budget. A new format for reviewing the City budget has led to some creative solutions and assessments of the City’s expenditures, and City Council is asking some tough questions.
Councilor Ross Romano’s motion to develop a policy limiting budget increases to the rate of inflation sets the stage for further discussions on reducing the tax burden not only on residents, but on the economic drivers of the community. The Chamber applauds Council for seriously considering how this can be implemented.
In February, the Chamber of Commerce issued a report which identified the uncompetitive tax burden of commercial and industrial tax rates when compared to other similar municipalities. Mayor Christian Provenzano’s office conducted its own assessment of the Chamber’s concerns and produced a report for Council confirming the conclusion made in the Chamber analysis and trends report. The Chamber is encouraged by affirmation from the Mayor’s office of the Chamber’s concerns and of City Council’s willingness to bring the issue forward for discussion.
While the Chamber continues to maintain a difference of opinion as to how best to measure tax competitiveness, the very fact that City Council is considering that issue in relation to business property tax rates as well as residential tax rates, will help move the City’s tax policy toward a more competitive range. The Chamber’s report is available at ssmcoc.com/news.
“The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents 725 businesses that employ approximately 15,000 people in our community and we look forward to working with the City to determine measures that will address municipal competitiveness, including the disparity between the tax rates paid by businesses in our community compared to comparable communities. By addressing the needs of the business community, we are ultimately making Sault Ste. Marie a great place to do business” says Monica Dale, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.
As the 2016 budgetary process comes to a close, the Chamber is confident that future budgets will incorporate the need for restraint and strategic investment, and that the City will look to develop future budgets based on competitively positioning Sault Ste. Marie for economic growth, diversification and prosperity.
Jason Naccarato, Second Vice President for the Chamber and Chair of its Tax Committee states that “The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce needs the City to answer the call to action from the Chamber; it is time to commit to an extensive review of how the City budget impacts the business community and our economic prosperity.”
“The Chamber is looking forward to collaborating with the City, and all levels of government, to develop a future focused approach in making the local economy strong and robust. The Chamber membership has many talented people and resources that can assist in developing a vision for the community that will drive prosperity for all” – Rory Ring, Executive Director, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
To find out more about the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce go to www.ssmcoc.com