Lloydminster lawmakers are getting a snapshot of the successes and concerns of local businesses.
The city contracted Insightrex Research to survey 100 businesses in the community to identify their needs which were presented at the latest Governance and Priorities meeting on January 21. The objective of the survey was to get more information on businesses which will be used to inform future economic developmental decisions.
One aspect of the survey found 37 per cent of businesses are looking to expand in the next two years and 44 per cent found their revenues have remained the same. Councilor Michael Diachuk was pleased to see the numbers.
“When you see the close to 60 per cent of the growth and staying the same it reflects 6 out of 10 businesses. When you carry that forward I think that’s positive. Only one or two per cent were thinking of closing so by comparison, people are still in it and see a future in Lloydminster.”
One of the biggest concerns was municipal property taxes and government regulation. Mayor Gerald Aalbers says these concerns are always a challenge.
“I meet with business people on a regular basis and talk about the increase in government tax on the provincial and federal level as well as our municipal tax. I do try to explain where the municipal dollars go.”
Another part of the survey asked people to point out the strengths and challenges of business in the Border City. Ten per cent said economic diversity was a strength while 2 per cent said it was a challenge.
“Provincially we’re seeing some trends around diversity,” says Diachuk. “We tend to see oil and gas as leaders in our community but there are other little pieces that are beginning to emerge as we grow.”
Councillor Ken Baker shared his thoughts on the survey saying it isn’t as useful as it could have been because the topics were too broad. However, Councilor Stephanie Munroe refutes the sentiment.
“This is a tool now that I can use and discuss with businesses in the future to find out exactly what is needed. I think it needs to be broad, it can’t be specific if you really want to encompass all the businesses in our community.”
Munroe says now the city manager and economic business development team can use the survey to get more specifics when speaking to small businesses and large corporations on their needs.
Aalbers says local businesses who weren’t contacted for the survey are welcome to share their thoughts through the online survey.