Harbour Grace hints at budget contents
Planning to hire economic development officer in 2015
Although details of the 2015 budget were not finalized by the time Harbour Grace council held their final meeting of the year on Dec. 18, discussions that night did offer a glimpse of what’s in store for the new year.
Coun. Gord Stone, co-chair of the town’s economic development, tourism and heritage committee, said some encouraging conversations involving provincial and federal government officials convinced the town to apply for funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to develop a heritage and revitalization plan for Harbour Grace.
A motion to prepare and submit the application was approved at the Dec. 18 council meeting. A five-person committee will also be created to spearhead the project. Stone told fellow council members the town needs to act fast to identify who will serve on that committee.
“The actual acceptance of the plan is going to be contingent on the committee being in place very quickly,” he said.
Stone said the plan would hopefully identify priorities for the town regarding development, heritage preservation and beautification, and assess how much cash is needed to realize that vision.
At the previous council meeting, it was agreed the town would hire an economic development officer in 2015. Council approved a motion at the Dec 18 meeting to advertise for the position.
As Mayor Terry Barnes sees it, the new hire will identify funding opportunities the town has previously not availed of and serve as a liaison between the town and the business community.
“There’s an awful lot that we don’t know when it comes to government and different agencies that have money for different things that we can avail of,” Barnes told The Compass. “If we had an economic development officer, they can specialize in looking for money for the town.”
With that in mind, the town hopes that by finding space in its budget to accommodate hiring an economic development officer, opportunities created through that position will generate revenue for the town in excess of the associated salary.
Stone notes such work was once spearheaded by regional economic boards spread throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. ACOA eliminated its funding for the 20 regional boards in 2012.
Earlier this month, the Town of Carbonear announced it would hire an economic development officer.
Although details of the 2015 budget for Harbour Grace were not announced prior to The Compass’ deadline, the town’s tax structure for the new year is in place and unchanged from 2014.