12/7/16

Economic Report for 2016

On December 6, I provided an economic update to Council, the first of what I hope will be an annual report. Below are the details. We have had a very good year.

Mississippi Mills is growing in the number and breadth of businesses. Several years ago, the Community and Economic Development Committee came up with a simple economic development plan: if you make Mississippi Mills a nice place to visit, some visitors will move here, and some will start businesses here. It’s working.

Our natural and built heritage, our quality of life, our festivals and other cultural events act as a powerful draw. People do visit, decide to move here, and start businesses. The signs of success are everywhere.

Just look at the change and growth this year in central Almonte:
- The Sivarulrasa Gallery moved from the Thoburn Mill to a larger and more prominent spot on Mill Street.
- Carleton Place artists Mary Pfaff and Strachan Johnston each opened a studio and gallery, on Bridge Street and Queen Street, respectively.
- Also new to Queen Street is Jennifer Kelly’s glass art gallery and studio, Current Work of Glass.
- The former Royal Lepage office is now the Northstar Gallery.
- Carriage Way studios opened in the old TYPS location near the Barley Mow.
- The former gallery in the Thoburn Mill is now Xquisit marketing.
- Photographer Two Mill Studios opened on Mill Street on the second floor above Kentfield Kids.
- Divine Consign moved from Industrial Avenue to the Thoburn Mill.

Malls along Ottawa Street still have empty storefronts but that may change now that downtown Almonte has no available space. This year, our newest brewery, Crooked Mile, set up shop in that district, and the Almonte Hearing Clinic opened on Houston Drive.

In Pakenham, a small pharmacy plans to officially open in the old building that formerly housed Reliable Heating (and Home Hardware before that) on December 19. Love that Bar closed this summer but the space now houses Bridges Bar and Grill.

Commerce By The Numbers
One way to measure our commercial strength is by tax statistics.

The contribution of the industrial-commercial segment has edged up. When the current Council began in late 2014, industrial-commercial tax assessment sat at 4.25% of the whole (down from 4.76% in 2011). That 4.25% generated 6.89% of taxes raised or $522,940. In 2015, the equivalent numbers were 4.27%, 7.42% and $600,600. In 2016, the key numbers are 4.3%, 7.2% and $620,570. The trend shows a slow increase.

The biggest tax classification is residential. Ideally, municipalities aim for a higher industrial-commercial tax assessment because it may keep residential taxes lower. That is not always true: Perth and Carleton Place have much higher industrial-commercial tax assessment but their residential tax rate is higher than ours.

The growth of residential development in Mississippi Mills is so strong, relative to business growth, that the industrial-commercial tax assessment percentage barely moves even as that sector’s assessment and taxes raised steadily increase.

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