Collins: Toward a sustainable futureWritten by D. Michael Collins | | email@example.com
The challenge that my administration faces is how to provide the level of services that the citizens of the community expect and deserve without increasing taxes and fees. The short answer to this challenge is that this administration will focus on the creation of wealth in the community. The reality of financial support from Columbus and Washington in 2014 is that those resources are being reduced and in some cases eliminated. An example can be seen in the fact that 2013 was the last year that Estate Tax could be collected by cities. In 2013, the City of Toledo collected more than $3 million in estate tax. The first community to understand this issue, develop its own resources and provide an effective, cost-efficient and effective development strategy will be the most sustainable in the future.
There were two foundational pieces to my platform during the campaign: the creation of more than 1,000 jobs and the elimination of brain drain in the community. As it relates to job creation, I’m very conscious of the fact that government alone does not create jobs in a community. Rather, public economic development efforts should focus on creating the environment where private interests invest the capital that leads to job creation. It is a combination of the two that creates jobs and develops wealth.
Finding someone to lead the city’s economic development efforts was critical to my administration’s development efforts. When undertaking this process, I looked for someone who had a demonstrated track record of project development and relationship building and that clearly understood the role of public economic development efforts.
After speaking with many qualified candidates, the position was offered to Matt Sapara. At the time, Matt was the chief operating officer for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The attraction to Matt was based on his reputation in the community of project development and consensus building. The key to development and moving projects forward is relationships and trust. Matt understands this.
A clear example of this understanding can be seen in Council’s recent vote on the sale of 37 acres of City of Toledo property in Monclova Township. Prior to taking office, I was contacted by a project sponsor and told that while the city’s land was at the top of the list, a decision was needed by January 10th and the feeling was that the City could not work through its process quickly enough to get the needed approval to sell the land. Essentially, the project was going to go to another community because of a misperception. I immediately contacted my team and instructed them to reach out to City Council to brief them on the project as a decision was needed at the Jan. 3 Council meeting. During this week-long process, there was dialogue with almost every member of Council. Questions and issues were resolved and the ordinance was unanimously passed. Due to the efforts of the project sponsor, my office and City Council, a $10-million project will develop on this site which will create approximately 80 jobs and retain a minimum of 68 others. In addition, this project will generate an additional $300,000 in income tax revenue.
I am committed to having several staff members dedicated to reaching out to the small business community. This will be done through the utilization of an existing program funded through JobsOhio and administered through the Regional Growth Partnership.
This piece is a small snapshot of the plan that is being developed. The full development strategy and its implementation will make everyone believers that “You’ll do better in Toledo.”
D. Michael Collins became mayor of Toledo on Jan. 2.