Charlottetown, PE – The City of Charlottetown introduced a balanced budget coming off a $2.5M surplus year in 2017, a move the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce notes as a positive for the City’s overall fiscal position.
“The Chamber acknowledges the hard work and discipline required of elected officials and staff in balancing the many demands on resources with availability of tax revenues, without increasing tax rates,” said Rory Francis, President of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber would have welcomed additional initiatives to support the growth of businesses in the community such as a reduction in property taxes, a move that the Chamber believes would actually increase overall revenue from commercial sources.
“While we are pleased that property tax rates are not increasing, property owners in the City would have welcomed action on Mayor Lee’s suggestion to reduce property taxes. With the City’s strong fiscal position, now is an opportune time to encourage reinvestment in the local economy,” said Francis.
The City recently announced a capital budget investment that would automate the building permit process through an online application program. The Chamber sees this as a positive step toward improving the quality of the review and approval process for developers. Today’s budget noted challenges with availability of housing in the capital. By continuing to streamline the process for development approvals, the Chamber said that the City makes it easier for the private sector to move projects forward and address to market need.
“Improving the building permit approval process for developers has been discussed with the City Hall and thus we are pleased to see investments in technology to support this,” said Francis.
With the introduction of a new City of Charlottetown website, the Chamber noted the absence of a commitment to an open data portal, a recommendation first made in 2017. Online access to development data would improve transparency and assist entrepreneurs in making important business decisions in the capital region.
“We are happy to see the City update their website to make it more user-friendly for both current and prospective businesses,” said Francis. “We encourage them to build on this success by creating an open data portal. This would make public information more transparent, accessible, and easier to analyze.”
The Chamber’s complete pre-budget presentation titled Building the Charlottetown Advantage can be found at www.charlottetownchamber.com/reports-policy-submissions
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the “Voice of Business” on economic issues for close to 1000 members, representing more than 18,000 employees in small, medium and large enterprises in the capital region.