Small Business Week

As we celebrate small business week we need to understand what constitutes small business. Small business is defined (by Industry Canada) as any business with fewer than 100 employees.  We generally think of small business as mom and pop operations, but there are several high profile businesses in Penticton generating millions in revenues that are small businesses and significant contributors to our community.

So does the City have an opportunity to foster economic growth? I absolutely think so. That is why I’ve established a task force on Economic Development.  It’s why I focus on Tourism Development to showcase our area and lifestyle which leads to future residents, investment and new business start-ups. Besides streamlining city processes and paperwork, we’ve led initiatives to entice business investment. It’s why I support the Economic Investment Zones (EIZ) offering tax relief on the investments made to a building or on new developments. Some people wonder if we are giving away tax revenue, and we are not. We are investing in the City’s growth. If the building improvement doesn’t happen it wasn’t money we had in the first place.  Let’s look at two examples of our economic incentives at work:

  Landmark Cinemas Southwood Retirement Resort
Pre EIZ assessed values $1,725,942 $2,168,000
Annual taxes (before EIZ) $12,374 $16,968
Construction value $2,310,000 $18,000,000
After EIZ assessed values $4,943,000 $22,162,500
Annual taxes (after EIZ) $36,591 $160,574

If we look at these two examples built on undeveloped parcels the City would have collected $61,870 less in taxes on Landmark, and $84,842 less in tax revenue on Southwood.  Instead, private sector pumped $20,310,000 million into the local economy and created 50-60 jobs after construction. The improved properties will now start paying taxes and the City continues to receive higher taxes on these properties into the future. One could argue that the development might eventually happen, but I am not prepared to sit by and wait while our City loses the multimillion dollar injections into our local economy. People need jobs now and that requires investment.

One other improvement I’ve championed to help business transition and grow is our payment plan for electrical upgrades. If you require an electrical upgrade (such as a $20,000 transformer) to accommodate new machinery, the City can offer a plan to help.  This allows businesses to reinvest in their companies earlier and creates opportunities to expand.

Despite the City fostering an environment for business to start, develop, and grow, the key contributor is the community. It starts with a mindset to shop local and understand how your local purchases recycles throughout the community, the employees and not for profits. It is the local business owner who creates work, buys supplies and ultimately sponsors minor sports, non-profits, and community events.

We have world-renowned custom niche manufacturing businesses, emerging world acclaimed winery and micro-breweries distilleries, tremendous tourism opportunities, and a robust array of unique shops and services to be proud of. As cliché as it sounds, my motto is a strong economy will lead to a strong community. Please take a moment to consider how you can enjoy shopping locally and put your purchasing power towards supporting local small businesses.