Thank you for the opportunity to take a few minutes to share with this audience my thoughts on economic development and what I believe are the keys to long-term economic sustainment for the City of North Bend and our surrounding region.
Most importantly, I believe it’s essential that we recognize all our city’s business as being on our so-called city “Main Street.” Additionally, it is absolutely critical that our focus be on doing whatever we can possibly do to help our city’s businesses grow and prosper. It has always been a successful two-part strategy of assisting local businesses to grow and expand while actively attracting new businesses to locate within our city. However, development is a complicated and expensive process and is best left to the private sector with local government providing an active supporting role through the creation of well-defined private/public partnerships. The commercial business activity located throughout the entire city of North Bend is the vital economic engine that sustains our critical jobs and tax revenues which drive this city forward – not just those few businesses who are located in the North Bend downtown area.
I believe there are several linchpins to enable our city to sustain, grow, and attract new investment and economic development. The first of these essential elements is that the city must have a strong, robust, and modern infrastructure – including the power and energy grid systems, roads, wastewater/sewer systems and telecommunications including high speed internet. Our city must be able to demonstrate to its citizens, businesses, and future investors that our city has made a commitment to infrastructure that supports all the current and future needs and that the systems are effectively administered and maintained. An old and failing infrastructure does not help sell potential investors and developers that this is the place they should be. We can and must do better.
A second key element is public safety. People must feel safe in their own homes, businesses and on the streets of their own city. Economic development – or any development for that matter – is not possible without ensuring that people feel safe wherever they may be living, working, or shopping. At this moment this is a complicated issue, but we can and must do better.
My third key element is building and maintaining partnerships throughout our community. I believe it’s essential to increase the emphasis on working with key partners such as the North Bend School District, the Bay Area Hospital District, and the Airport District – as examples. These strategic players I believe are all essential to the long-term success of North Bend as they all play essential roles in our community. The sum of our city’s “parts” – including all its partners – makes our city stronger and leverages our ability to create economic development opportunities throughout our city.
The last key element to foster and enable investment and economic development involves the creation of streamlined efficient and effective processes within city, regional and state government. Our city must be able to work cooperatively and earnestly listen to citizens, businesses, and partners in a completely open and transparent manner, using a consensus-based approach whenever possible. Greater emphasis on cooperation with stakeholders is necessary to build on our shared resources and useful information to the benefit of all – with the utmost consideration given to the constraints of available taxpayer dollars in an environment of never-ending increasing costs. Being an unwavering steward of taxpayer funds is paramount. We can – and must do better in this crucial element of our city’s economic development.
The final piece of the puzzle to sustaining, attracting new investment, and realizing successful economic development is the ability to apply leadership and common sense to pull together smart and well- reasoned ideas that enable sustained growth and economic development in our city. I believe I am the right person at the right time to lead this city as Mayor and bring all my experience in the private and public sectors to this and other pressing issues. Along with the business leaders in this room this afternoon – we can and will hopefully work together on these issues to create the building blocks of success for our city, our fellow citizens, and our city’s businesses. My name is John Briggs and I am a candidate for Mayor of the City of North Bend.