All Economies Are Local

A better jobs and growth strategy for towns and cities


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Massachusetts communities can no longer rely on state or federal aid to fill their budget gaps. If communities want to enjoy the benefits of a robust economy, each municipality must become a high performing, self-reliant economic engine operating on four cylinders: residential, business, public sector, and nonprofit. Each cylinder represents an indispensable component of the local and regional economy, employing thousands and fueling millions of dollars of activity through wages, the purchase of goods and services, and payment of taxes.

Governor Deval Patrick’s Economic Development Policy and Strategic Plan, “Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century,” recommends that each municipality needs a “CEO” and team to create and implement an economic development plan for job growth. Towns and cities must learn to take advantage of economic development opportunities and tax revenues. They must understand how to create the optimum number of local jobs, and how municipal metrics determine their economic well-being. They must know their industry clusters, especially which ones are thriving or struggling, and the decision makers at those enterprises who pay business taxes and create jobs. Each municipality must take responsibility for its own economic fate.

Many municipalities are forming economic development corporations or committees to encourage new business establishments, developing supportive customer service policies, and providing predictable regulatory processes that are committed to respecting developers and residents.

TechSandbox, an incubation center for technology and science startups, moved to Hopkinton after selectmen voted to waive building permit fees and explore a special tax deal — the kind of public-private partnership that is key to supporting small business, creating new jobs for the innovation economy, and encouraging growth. Marlborough formed an Economic Development Corporation that works with municipal and private investors to create jobs and community revitalization. Cambridge and Somerville implemented Buy Local First programs to build sustainable local economies and vibrant communities.

To understand how the various components influence our municipal and regional economies, towns and cities can design and implement a three-step process.

Step one: Develop your municipality’s economic profile. Include an appropriate set of metrics, and then track their historical performance. With this information, a municipality can better understand how its local economy works — its strengths, weaknesses, and hidden potential. Examples of these metrics include payroll data from local employers; tax base and rates; commercial land available; office and retail vacancies; school budgets and per-pupil expenditures; housing starts and trends; municipal revenues; cost of living measures; number of employers by sector; job statistics; population trends and demographics.

An excellent source for data relating to economic conditions is Framingham State University’s MetroWest Economic Research Center. MassBenchmarks provides information concerning the performance of and prospects for the state’s economy, which gives a context for a local and regional economy. It’s published by the UMASS Donahue Institute with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Step two: Develop an economic portrait of your primary industry and small business clusters. Include nonprofits and possibilities such as manufacturing, software, medical devices, financial, education, healthcare, information technology, leisure/hospitality, public sector, construction, legal, retail, professional, and business services. That portrait will provide a wealth of information and assist municipal leaders to answer three questions:

1. How do we support businesses and nonprofits?

2. What industries should we strive to retain or attract?

3. Are we too dependent on any particular industry? If so, how might that dependence be a problem or strength for encouraging job growth? Only a diverse business base can help municipalities survive economic storms and capitalize on opportunities during prosperous times.

Within industry clusters, metrics can be highlighted, including number of local employees, top employers, income data, products and services made or provided locally, economic outlook for each sector, and contact information for business and nonprofit leaders. Outreach then becomes possible. The Southborough Economic Development Committee schedules meetings monthly with business and nonprofit leaders to learn how the town can help them prosper.

MIT developed a Community Economic Development Tool Box, where one can view profiles of economic indicators by county and compare the profiles to state and national data. The website, mass.gov/lwd/economic-data/ (click on: other resources/municipal data), as well as municipal tax rolls are good sources for identifying your local businesses.

Step three: Create and communicate your action plan to interested parties. Collect and interpret your municipal financial data and trends. Integrate your economic profile, portrait information, and economic development action plan into the annual municipal budget process. Review of this information can be useful in determining the best opportunities and to plan next steps for job creation and growth.

christopher robbinsThen, explore opportunities to create public-private partnerships to reduce the cost of government, lower residential taxes, and improve the delivery of core services. To succeed, citizen leaders committed to job growth and economic well-being must come forward in each municipality and lead us in a way that will help ensure our fiscal sustainability and quality of life.

Christopher Robbins is a member of the Economic Development Committee of Southborough, on the Board of Directors of Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce, and past president of the Southborough Business Association. Email: chrisr2346@verizon.net.

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January 2020

Saturday January 18th, 2020 from 10:30-4pm and Sunday January 19th, 2020 from 10:30-4pm In Reiki Master Level you will learn the master symbols, receive the master level attunement and learn how...

Cost: $295 for new students, $195 for the refresher option

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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Join us and connect to the powerful energies of the bird kingdom. Throughout earth history, birds have been thought to be divine messengers. Many spiritual systems believe they are emissaries of...

Cost: $95

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack St
Methuen, MA
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: front desk
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Your soul has already seeded your existence with all that is needed to completely express your destiny. Let the Miracle Mantra awaken you to the awareness of spirit ever present in your...

Cost: Suggested Donation: $20

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA  02054
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Sponsor: Yoga at the Ashram
Telephone: 508-376-4525
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Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
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Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
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January 19th, February 16th, March 8th by appointment only. Kinetic Chain Release (KCR) to balance body, resolve leg length discrepancies, reduce back, shoulder, knee, hip pain and reduce stress...

Cost: $65 to $145

Where:
Leapin' Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME  04101
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Sponsor: Leapin' Lizards
Telephone: 207-221-2363
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Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
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Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
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Total Life Group Cleanse begins with Jonathan Glass, Ayurvedic practitioner Includes the following three Tuesdays. A 28-day program designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and...

Where:
Concord, MA


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Are you considering, going through or recovering from divorce? Join us at our free Daytime Divorce Boot Camp, and we’ll help you get into shape! In response to requests from people who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
180 Wells Avenue
Suite 300
Newton, MA  02459
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Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
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Do you have questions about the legal process of divorce? Join us at our free informative workshop in Hingham, MA! About this event: David Kellem, experienced Family Law Attorney &...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kellem Mahoney Family Law & Mediation Group
100 Recreation Park Drive
Suite 201
Hingham, MA  02043
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Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
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Are you ready to permanently up-level your life? Are you ready close the gap between where you are today and your higher purpose? Are you ready to take a definitive step toward healing the...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
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Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
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Join us at Vesta’s One-Day Divorce Retreat in Newton, MA! In just one day... you will come away with valuable knowledge about the issues associated with separation and divorce,...

Cost: $149

Where:
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
180 Wells Avenue
Suite 300
Newton, MA  02459
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Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
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January is the time of the year when we look ahead to the year in front of us and imagine it to be better than the one we are leaving behind. We often make the New Years resolution in January and...

Cost: $108 before Jan 20 ($120 after)

Where:
Unity Farm Sanctuary
17 Unity Lane
Westborough Shopping Center
Sherborn, MA  01770
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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This is a free and mandatory orientation prior to registering for the 8 week group program of mindfulness based stress reduction or MBSR. Please RSVP so we can plan accordingly....

Cost: Free

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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This class will teach you how to make your own intricate wire-wrapped gemstone pendant, expanding on the basics from the introductory Level 1 class that has been taught previously. This class if...

Cost: Reg includes supplies $60 per person or $50 more than one

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Our Yellow Banner is in Window w/Fairy Lights Please remove shoes at the door
Salem, NH  03079
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Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
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We will be sitting in the New Moon Energy and The Energy and Consciousness of the Chinese New Year.  Stacey and Bob will be doing an energetic transmission with Energies and Stones...

Cost: Class: $30, Online Reg. $25

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
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Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
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Next Class Starts January 25, 2020 You will learn: How to hypnotize How to use hypnosis to help clients make personal changes How to turn hypnosis into a profitable part-time or...

Where:
, RI


Telephone: 401-374-1890
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January 25–April 26, 2020 Now offered in one day and weekend modules that can be taken individually or consecutively.  Dates and individual class links are listed below. All...

Cost: $1360

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, #1A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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