Let me begin by saying Team London was exceptionally well received in all three countries we visited – Japan, Korea and China. You can check out the details on the www.londontochina.ca website. Our Team, which included representatives from the LEDC, the London Chamber of Commerce, LHSC, Western University, Fanshawe College and private business, met with representatives from technology, education, science and medical sectors. There was great interest expressed in “doing business” with London based organizations and industry and we expect to welcome leaders and representatives of these companies and cities to London in the near future.
And yes, I am still committed to a third year of a 0% tax increase. There is no doubt that Council members and City staff will be challenged to find the cost efficiencies that will allow London to again hold the line on taxes, but our economy is still recovering and Londoners are working diligently to keep their families and businesses on budget and so the City of London must also work with great diligence to achieve this goal. We are going to have to be creative, but that’s not a bad thing, for it is in fact how families and businesses succeed in holding the line on their spending. We must look at how London can increase revenue from sources other than taxes. Where are the public/private partnerships that make sense – good sense – and where can we leverage and find investments from the federal and provincial governments to augment our municipal dollars. We need to review the value of our assets and determine how to best use them on behalf of Londoners.
There will again be tough decisions to be made and the talks and debates surrounding how we ensure the City sees value for each tax dollar invested, are just getting started.
We have time to find the answers and we must stay focused on achieving this goal.