Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LOCALS Moving Our Community Forward

Yesterday, the LOCALS (Lower Columbia Alliance for Living Sustainably) unveiled a campaign to promote local business in our community.

Some 35 community advocates were present, including myself.

I applaud LOCALS and Bruce Lyons of Vancouver Woodworks for this undertaking, and their recognition that it is in all of our best interest to be local and buy local.

The LOCALS effort will include raising awareness of the economic importance of shopping local (in tax revenues to our struggling public agencies), and informing our community of what local shopping options there are available right here in Vancouver.

Now, more than ever, we as a community must look out for each other.

Renowned economists are predicting this economic recession will continue until at least the end of 2010.

There are many options for shopping locally that we must consider, before crossing into Oregon.

Shopping local provides tax revenues to public agencies, and income revenues to local businesses so they can keep their doors open, and maybe even create a new job or two!

I spoke to the group about my vision for Vancouver's future with local business, and where the City must be a stronger partner.

We can do better.

Local business owners that live in our community, are vested here, raise their children here and volunteer here….they deserve more attention and cooperation from City Hall.

The City must make it easier for business owners to chose to expand operations, produce more…and thus create more jobs, right here and right now!

The City can make further improvements in the permitting process -- further cutting red tape to gain building and land use permits. I know this can be done -- recent conversations I've had with City Staff have proved fruitful and I will pursue all avenues to implement streamlining efforts.

The City can ease the high cost of impact fees, development review fees, system connection charges, business taxes and utility taxes. I see these options as a short term 'stimulus' package, that will reap benefits on the ground -- right here, right now.

The City can work closer with property and building owners, to support fa├žade and tenant improvements, all through some local monies, and state & federal grant dollars.

We can do better to support local business.

We can do better to support efforts by LOCALS.

We will move our community forward more sustainably.

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