How Will Our Next Mayor Encourage Growth?
We continue with the third of our six part series of questions for the Superior mayoral candidates. This series will continue through Monday, February 16th in anticipation of the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, February 17th.
We’ve previously published the candidates’ answers to two questions:
1. “Why are you the best candidate for Mayor of Superior?” see answers HERE.
2. “What are the three biggest economic issues facing the City today?” see answers HERE.
How will you encourage continued economic development in Superior?
I would encourage continued economic development in Superior by continuing infra-structure improvements, safe neighborhoods, reducing blight, and personally inviting business to look at Superior for expanding or starting anew. We could offer incentives when and where possible, such as tax credits or utility installments.
As Mayor I will address issues related to the Cost of doing business, government intrusion, and street closures due to infrastructure improvements, these are a few challenges facing the Superior business community. As Mayor I will facilitate policies that lessen the cost of doing business, I will work to minimize bureaucratic interference, and I will offer tax compensation to businesses affected by street closures.
Additionally, Superior must invest in our existing housing stock. As Mayor I will bring back grant funded programs that incentivize personal property improvement. We must encourage new residential construction. As Mayor I will consider development of underused city property. We must streamline our inspection and permitting process. As Mayor I will identify and discontinue unnecessary steps. As Mayor I will also initiate policy that aggressively addresses, shortages of trained, technically skilled workers, and an absence of strategically planned infrastructure improvements including technological infrastructure.
I will focus on increasing the median income through higher wages. My economic development plan will continue to pursue and support large, high paying businesses and provide support for new, local ventures. Higher wages is the only way we can grow our retail economy and allow citizens to invest in better housing.
I will partner with the school district, WITC, and UW-Superior to ensure we have a large base of educated, skilled workers. A strong base of trained and educated workers is vital to attracting large businesses.
We must focus on quality of life. 21st century citizens will place greater value on where and how they live than where they work. We must attract and retain citizens that will in turn attract or build businesses. We do this by making Superior into a world class place to live and play.
In regard to continued economic development, I will focus on:
- Housing. In March, the city and county will be initiating a housing assessment which will provide the building block that will further address the four-tier housing plan that I mentioned above.
- Retail development for growth, repurposing existing buildings and attract complementary new business growth.
- Retaining and growing a strong industrial base. We continue to support all of our industrial partners with assistance whether it be a regulatory issue, workforce requirements or expansion incentives.
We have a small but very detailed and aggressive Economic Development Team. Our approach has and continues to be seeking out a blend of job growth opportunities, job retention and growth of our existing businesses and industries. It works! Just in the past year we welcomed over twenty (20) new and expanded businesses to Superior. The job of economic development isn’t a training ground or a casual practice. One needs to fully understand the components, requirements and business goals of the client long before you can be of any assistance, or worse; take them on a path that ultimately does not work for anyone. This requires first an education in economic development, experience and understanding the client. We have that.That is what it requires to stay competitive and successful.
The other component is focusing on the types of businesses and industries that belong, are compatible in the community and do not compete with long-established businesses but rather complement them. We are a port community. We are an intricately detailed manufacturing community. We are Wisconsin’s Energy Capital with any number of oil based industries, the only refinery in the state and the terminal for Enbridge providing fifteen percent of all imported oil to the United States of America. Superior has always produced products, raw and finished to America and the world. Always have and always will. Some disagree, but this growth also supports other existing industries and businesses resulting in the lowest unemployment rate since WWII. Our Economic Development Team, in working with business and labor will continue to balance growth in Superior.
I believe it is important to continue with the Better City US initiative. It has the backing to create a better city for all of us. On top of that, we need a citywide economic development plan that creates strategies for industrial, downtown, retail and restaurant development and we need to follow through with this plan. The most important part is to be completely transparent and allow community input in the plan as well. We are developing this for the community, and not for our personal gain.
Tomorrow’s question for the candidates:
Do you believe that Superior has a crime problem, and if so, what will you do to confront it?