Mayoral candidate Joe McNamara today outlined a five-point economic plan that he says will stimulate Toledo’s economy, create more jobs, and develop a long-term plan for continued progress.
The key to the plan is for Toledo to start “investing in ourselves,” he said during a news conference held in front of the Lucas County Courthouse in downtown Toledo.
As a city councilman, Mr. McNamara pointed out that he supported the “Local Preference Ordinance,” which enables council the option to select a local company bidding for a job even if their bid isn’t the lowest. As mayor he would continue to promote the plan, he said.
“When we invest in local businesses we are investing in Toledo,” said Mr. McNamara, adding that hiring local companies provides more jobs for local residents. “It’s a great way of circulating local dollars in our local economy.”
One of Mr. McNamara’s more ambitious plans is to create “co-operative businesses” that would require initial financial backing from large institutions like the University of Toledo, Mercy Health Partners and ProMedica Health System.
Based on a model in Cleveland, the co-operative businesses would be placed in low income communities to help redevelopment efforts, he said. Residents would help determine what businesses are most needed in their community and help oversee operations. The plan would create more jobs and a stronger tax base in those communities, he said.
“It’s another example of investing in ourselves,” he said.
Another priority would be to conduct a national search to hire a “qualified economic developer,” Mr. McNamara said. The position is currently filled by an interim director, an attorney that Mayor Bell appointed to the position, he said.
A skilled developer can be a tremendous asset to a community, Mr. McNamara said.
“There seems to be a ‘good ol’ boy mentality in Toledo,” he said. “As mayor, I would conduct a search for a qualified economic developer.”
Mr. McNamara also proposed encouraging more businesses to take advantage of energy efficient programs that would save them money. He would also like to see Toledo create a private/public partnership that would allow the city to do all of its own recycling locally. Currently the city’s recyclables are sent to Ann Arbor which costs money to transport and the city only earns a percentage of the profits.
Under Mr. McNamara’s plan, the local recycling effort would not cost taxpayers anything and generate more revenue for the city.