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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September 23, 2019

During the predawn hours the Sun slips into Libra and Autumn begins. The Fall Equinox is a short-lived time of year when the hours of daylight and darkness are balanced. If you’ve been putting off preparations for the coming winter, set to it. The waning…
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Calendar

September 2019

It’s time for a workshop!  One plus one always equals two. In a similar fashion EFT plus Law of Attraction always equals effective and positive change. Teaching Emotional Freedom...

Cost: $40

Where:
21 Wiles Farm Road
Northboro, MA
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Sponsor: Medicine My Way
Telephone: 508-523-7132
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In this 90 minute workshop you will find clarity in what brings you joy. You will create your personal vision statement that will help guide you to living a more satisfied, balanced life. This...

Cost: $25 early-bird till 9/20 ($30 after)

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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Witness the healing power of mediumship! Join New England's own trusted spirit medium Raylene Sousa and top UK medium Dominic Boag from Scotland for an afternoon of spirit messages. If...

Cost: $40

Where:
The Little Meetinghouse
723 Roosevelt Trail
Windham, ME  04062
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Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
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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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2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
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Members of the Reflexology Association of NH will be offering “mini” hand or foot reflexology sessions at the Salt Cave within Bien Soigne in honor of World Reflexology Week.

Cost: Donations suggested $15 - $20

Where:
Bien Soigne Salt Cave
350 North Broadway
Salem, NH  03079
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Sponsor: Reflexology Association of NH
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September 25–October 29, 2019 Expert Tai Chi instructor and Qigong Master Instructor Terry Dunn will be giving a total of four five-day intensive workshops in October 2019 at Eastover...

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
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Telephone: 866-264-5139
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September 26–29 This training at the Center for Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) uses mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy to break the cycle of...

Cost: $1,390

Where:
Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
1035 Cambridge St, Suite 21A
Cambridge, MA  02141
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Sponsor: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
Telephone: 617-591-6132
Contact Name: Center for Mindfulness and Compassion
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Come detox, relax and renew yourself for the fall in our sanctuary! We have an intimate gathering of great readers and healers providing services at sampler rates to enjoy their services while...

Cost: $60: 3 Pack Service Special; $25: Single Service

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
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Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
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Mirabai Starr was an adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years. Her emphasis has always been on making connections between the perennial...

Cost: $20

Where:
First Parish in Lexington
7 Harrington Road
Lexington, MA  02420
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Sponsor: Lexington Community Education
Telephone: 781-862-8043
Contact Name: Craig Hall
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Maryellen Labelle, David Sholemson and Steve Cunningham are excited to announce Qigong for Inner Peace teacher training fall term 2019. This 50 hour certification training is appropriate for a wide...

Cost: $1100 / $800 early registration

Where:
Yoga Depot
17 Depot Square
Lexington, MA  02420
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Sponsor: Qigong for Inner Peace
Telephone: 617-721-7215
Contact Name: Maryellen Labelle / David Sholemson
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Join life coach Cheryl Richardson and her husband, Michael Gerrish, a psychotherapist and gifted intuitive, for a special evening designed to help you upgrade your life! During this event,...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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This Dating Program is the follow-up to Kerri Morrison's workshop, Deliberate Dating: 5 Keys to Successful Online Romance; held Friday, August 16th, 2019 from 6:30-7:30pm. View that event...

Cost: $199

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
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Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
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Learn Reiki—revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
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Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
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With Laura Haley, IET Master Instructor Trainer  This class provides you with everything you need to conduct a powerful Integrated Energy Therapy session on yourself or others (either in...

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
Methuen, MA


Telephone: (978) 474-8010
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Learn the benefits of yoga for families as well as how to develop character in children to get them more focused, respectful, and confident before returning back to school this fall! This class...

Cost: $45 early bird till 9/25 (includes child and a parent), $50 after

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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September 28–29 Saturday 10 am Registration; 10 am–5 pm  Sunday 10 am–5 pm This practitioner training takes place over 2 days and offers students the opportunity to...

Cost: Course Fee: $450; Recalibration Appointment: $333

Where:
The Hampton Inn Coventry Warwick
850 Centre Of New England Boulevard
Coventry, RI
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Telephone: 617-366-6042
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September 28–29 Learn hands-on techniques for the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, as well as the sacrum, psoas and ilium. Leave with tools you can use right away. Coming in...

Where:
Downeast School of Massage
Waldoboro, ME


Telephone: (617) 678-8920
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Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
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Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
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