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GREGG CHAMBERLAIN UNITED COUNTIES ADOPT ECONOMIC STRATEGY REPORT to ensure that 20 businesses remained in Prescott-Russell instead of relocating elsewhere. But he noted that results of the survey and other information collected as part of the OPRO study indicates “more sta- bility than growth” in the region’s economic development. and other business planning and support networks in the region, help businesses planning to expand to find the information and support resources they need. More development of Prescott-Russell’s tourism sector is part of the OPRO plan, which will help support and maintain existing businesses and also draw new business investment to the region. The final part of the OPRO report plan calls for supporting better access to criti- cal business infrastructure like improved Internet service and also better hydro rates, which can affect basic operating costs.

A report to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council explains what is working for econo- mic development in Prescott-Russell and offers a 14-step strategy for doing better. The UCPR received and approved the Opportunités Prescott-Russell Opportunities (OPRO) report during its February 20 session. The OPRP reports deals with a two-year study for the UCPR economic development and tourism department as part of its economic development strategy planning for the region. “The purpose of this survey (project) was to analyze the situation of Prescott and Russell’s businesses to better understand

“Prescott-Russell businesses have a hard time attracting the work force they need,” Berthiaume told counties council, “which affects their ability to create new jobs.” Action plan The OPRO report includes a 14-step action plan to deal with some of the pro- blems facing businesses in the region, which either hinder their operations or are forcing them to close down and relocate to another community outside of Prescott-Russell. The first two steps focus on Prescott-


Mayor Guy Desjardins of Clarence- Rockland cast the sole vote against approving this year’s budget for the counties. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) approved the 2019 budget during their February 20 session but it was not a unanimous vote. Clarence-Rockland’s mayor voted no for two reasons. “To accept a 3.8 per cent tax (increase) for the counties is not proper,” said Desjar- dins during a later interview. “I would have preferred to have three (per cent) or less.” Desjardins also thinks counties council could have kept the property tax increase lower, if it had chosen to draw on some of its reserves for funding some of the capital works allocations included in the budget rather than pay for them through the county tax levy portion. He argued that counties council could always “pay back” any money drawn from reserves during future budgets. “They’ve got reserves,” Desjardins said. “They could have borrowed the money if they had to.” The 2019 UCPR budget is $111,966,000. That includes all sources of funds, from senior government grants to user fees

their challenges and opportuni- ties,” stated the report’s foreword, “and also to deter- mine what action to take to promote their retention and expansion.”

R u s s e l l ’ s strengths as a location for business. The OPRO report recommends p r o m o t i n g the region’s attractions as

Un récent rapport aux Comtés unis de Prescott et Russell propose un plan en 14 étapes les municipalités locales afin de les aider à bâtir leurs secteurs d’affaires.

Le maire Guy Desjardins a voté contre l’approbation du budget 2019 des CUPR. —archives

a place to live and work, and also highlight “success stories” about local businesses. The second part of the plan deals with issues that discourage new businesses from setting up shop or force existing businesses to close down. The OPRP plan calls for pro- moting local buying of goods and services, developing policies which encourage and support business start-ups, including finding ways to attract skilled workers to the region. The steps in the third part of the plan deal with supporting local chambers of commerce

More than 500 businesses throughout Prescott-Russell were surveyed as part of the OPRO report, including those in the indus- trial, commercial, agricultural, and tourism sectors. The project also provided advice and other assistance to some businesses, to either encourage them to stay in the Pres- cott-Russell area or to help deal with some of the problems hampering their operations. Olivier Berthiaume, project officer for the UCPR economic development department, reported that the OPRO program helped

collected. The county levy portion of the budget is $45,074,900, which is about $2.4 million more than the 2018 counties budget tax levy. This means a 3.82 per cent property tax rate increase. For the average homeowner this will mean an increase of $41.11 on the counties portion of the property tax bill. Mayor Robert Kirby, current UCPR warden, expressed satisfaction with the budget during an interview. “I’m glad that the municipalities kept what we call the ‘counties gas tax’,” TBJE8BSEFO,JSCZ SFGFSSJOHUPUIFNJMMJPO UCPR/municipal fund. Publié le jeudi par • Published on Thursday by: La Compagnie d’édition André Paquette Inc. Imprimé par • Printed by: Imprimerie Prescott et Russell, Hawkesbury, ON # convention : 0040012398 Bourget ON • À seulement 15 minutes d’Orléans • Communauté bilingue • Tranquillité de la campagne • Venez voir notre grand choix de lots (aucun fossé) PRÊT À CONSTRUIRE G220442 Nous invitons les lecteurs à nous faire parvenir leurs lettres qui ne doivent pas dépasser 300 mots. Nous nous réservons le droit de les modifier ou de refuser de les publier. L’expéditeur doit inclure son nom, prénom, adresse et numéro de téléphone. Readers are invited to send us their letters that must not exceed 300 words. We reserve the right tomodify themor to refuse to publish them. The writer must include their names, address and telephone number. 1315, Laurier, C.P. / P.O. Box 897, Rockland, ON K4K 1L5 Tel.: 613-446-6456 • Fax.: 613-446-1381



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