Eightfold return on SD&G business improvement program

The United Counties of SD&G administration building at 26 Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – The head of the SD&G economic development department says a county business spruce-up program is giving the upper-tier government an 8-to-1 return on its investment of taxpayer money.

Nicholas Seguin shared details Monday with county council on this year’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is a toolbox of different business improvement programs, including grants and laddered municipal tax rebates.

The improvements require businesses to invest significantly more money than the grant.

SD&G had 30 applications in the spring with 12 successful and then a “stellar” fall intake with 25 applications with 20 approved, Seguin said.

The county had budgeted $250,000 for the program this year and the projects have resulted in over $2 million invested in local business.

“We believe the program to be very successful,” Seguin said.

Many councillors agreed with Coun. Tony Fraser (North Dundas) saying the “program is exceptional” as it stimulates business growth and is a “solid return on investment.”

The program will be tweaked for 2021 with a couple of changes, including not allowing standalone parking lot paving projects.