- Lower the commercial tax-rate by reducing the city’s annual budget, stimulating new growth, and accurately reassessing property values.
- Create a Marketing Plan for the City of Holyoke that showcases Holyoke’s many assets. I will be Holyoke’s chief spokesperson, marketing our city nationally as Western Massachusetts’ center for new-age technology and 21st century entrepreneurship.
- Institute a Tax Increment Financing program for developers and new businesses that is calculated based on the size of investment. Our current 5-year Tax Increment Financing program is not enough to attract sizable new investment, and I will work with the City Council to implement a 10-year program within my first two years.
- Work with Holyoke Gas and Electric to provide incoming businesses and developers with energy and land incentives for moving to Holyoke.
- Create a comprehensive plan to increase small business ownership and entrepreneurship. Partner with the Small Business Administration, SCORE, the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Chamber of Commerce, the Kittredge Center and CareerPoint to offer aspiring entrepreneurs with the resources and information necessary to develop business plans, access credit, and acquire space. These organizations will collaborate to establish an entrepreneurial incubator in Holyoke. If an incubator-developed business can prove sustainability after a 2-year period, I will work with local banks to share the risk of providing that business with financing options to relocate and expand.
- Promote an Arts and Entertainment District downtown that provides tax incentives to attract artists and entertainment enterprises to move into empty warehouses and factories. As Mayor, I will take full advantage of the Victory Theatre and incentivize economic development around the Theater to support restaurants, hotels, and other activities that promote activity downtown at night.
- Support Transit Oriented Development in downtown Holyoke and partner with community organizations to create a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown.
- Position Holyoke as a leader in the green economy by pursuing alternative sources of energy, greening city buildings and enforcing green building codes.
My strategy for developing Holyoke’s local economy will be to focus on retaining existing businesses, recruiting new investment and reforming our city’s zoning, permitting and licensing processes.
- Provide tax incentives to existing businesses that make property improvements or undergo expansion and renovation projects.
- Create a Main Street, High Street, and Northampton Street Business Association to retain and strengthen existing businesses and encourage further economic growth in the area.
- Build upon existing job training and development partnerships such as CareerPoint, Holyoke Works, and the New England Farm Workers Council to help connect working residents with good paying, middle class jobs.
- Develop a job-ready workforce by supporting Dean Vocational High School and by working with Holyoke Community College and other local higher education institutions to maximize the availability of their programs to Holyoke residents.
- Streamline the permitting and licensing process for incoming businesses and developers by creating a one-stop process where all relevant departments are available for applicants in one meeting location at least once a month. This will include the Board of Health, the Legal Department, the Conservation Commission, the Assessor’s Office, the Holyoke Economic Development and Industrial Corporation and other departments. By doing so the average permitting and licensing process for incoming businesses and investors will be reduced from an average of six months to an average of 90 days.
- Ensure that city residents and workers benefit from any tax incentives given to private developers.