Community Economics

Community Economics Element

The City’s role is to create, maintain and grow economic value. Community shareholders, including property owners, tenants, families, and businesses have invested in Ontario and should expect a return from those investments, including financial and qualitative returns, such as: quality of life, job opportunities, potential for business growth, sense of safety, healthy environment, responsive government, amenities, and so much more – all of which is part of the Vision of being a “complete community.”

Their investments, in turn, generate returns for the community. A business investing in expansion creates new job opportunities for residents. A developer investing in new housing attracts new consumers for Ontario’s retailers. These investments add municipal revenues, which the City reinvests in community facilities, public improvements, and services that improve the quality of life for Ontario residents, employees, and visitors. Through the Community Economics Element policies, the City commits itself to protecting these investments. Generating better and higher returns gives Ontario a competitive advantage to attract even more investment. This new investment and reinvestment creates a self-sustaining cycle of prosperity.


The Community Economics Element:

  • Articulates our approach to developing and maintaining the community’s economy and its relationship to the City’s fiscal health.
  • Creates a framework to attract investment in Ontario.
  • Establishes our policies for economic development.


The City believes:

  • A complete community will be better positioned to compete and attract investment.
  • The wise and principled management of the public’s finances is a primary responsibility of our City government.
  • Actions taken by the City should take into consideration immediate and long term economic and fiscal implications.
  • Unique, high-quality places differentiate Ontario and thereby attract additional investment.


CE-1 Complete Community

The concept of creating, maintaining, and growing economic value within the City underlies the Ontario Vision. While economic value is often measured in monetary terms – property values, taxable sales, and equity growth, we require decision-making that also reflects qualitative value. We express this qualitative value as the concept of “complete community.” A complete community provides housing, jobs, education, shopping and services, culture, and recreation for people at all ages and socioeconomic levels. Most importantly, a complete community provides opportunities for those residents and businesses willing to improve themselves and create wealth and invest in the community.

This section establishes policies that incorporate this concept into land use planning, regulations, City governance, and operations.

CE-1 A complete community that provides for all incomes and stages of life.

Jobs-Housing Balance. We pursue improvement to the Inland Empire’s balance between jobs and housing by promoting job growth that reduces the regional economy’s reliance on out-commuting.


Jobs and Workforce Skills. We use our economic development resources to:

  1. attract jobs suited for the skills and education of current and future City residents;
  2. work with regional partners to provide opportunities for the labor force to improve its skills and education; and
  3. attract businesses that increase Ontario’s stake and participation in growing sectors of the regional and global economy.

(Link to Social Resources Policy SR-2.2)

CE-1.3 Regional Approach to Workforce Development. We work with our partners to provide workforce training and development services throughout the region, recognizing that Ontario employers rely on workers living outside of the City.
CE-1.4 Business Retention and Expansion. We continuously improve two-way communication with the Ontario business community and emphasize customer service to existing businesses as part of our competitive advantage.
CE-1.5 Business Attraction. We proactively attract new and expanding businesses to Ontario in order to increase the City’s share of growing sectors of the regional and global economy.
CE-1.6 Diversity of Housing. We collaborate with residents, housing providers, and the development community to provide housing opportunities for every stage of life; we plan for a variety of housing types and price points to encourage the development of housing supportive of our efforts to attract business in growing sectors of the community while being respectful of existing viable uses.
CE-1.7 Retail Goods and Services. We seek to ensure a mix of retail businesses that provide the full continuum of goods and services for the community.
CE-1.8 Regional Attraction. We encourage the development and programming of regional, cultural, and entertainment destinations in Ontario.
CE-1.9 Regional Leadership. We provide leadership for public, quasi-public, and private-sector partners that help Ontario and its residents and businesses realize our goals and achieve our Vision.
CE-1.10 Life-Long Education. We work with our partners who provide life-long learning to ensure that our residents and workforce have access to education at all stages of life.
CE-1.11 Socioeconomic Trends. We continuously monitor, plan for, and respond to changing socioeconomic trends.
CE-1.12 Circulation. We continuously plan and improve public transit and non-vehicular circulation for the mobility of all, including those with limited or no access to private automobiles. (Link to Mobility Element Public Transit Section)
CE-1.13 Safety and Security. We invest in public safety and communicate our successes because the perception and reality of safety and security are necessary prerequisites for private investment and economic growth.
CE-2 Placemaking

The City’s land use plans and policies seek to create distinctive and high-quality places. Such places add value and thereby attract additional investment. The City of Ontario focuses on creating a range of places where people want to live, work, and visit. This section establishes policies that acknowledge the value of place in the decision-making process.

CE-2 A City of distinctive neighborhoods, districts, corridors, and centers where people choose to be.

Development Projects. We require new development and redevelopment to create unique, high-quality places that add value to the community. (Link to Community Design Element)


Development Review. We require those proposing new development and redevelopment to demonstrate how their projects will create appropriately unique, functional, and sustainable places that will compete well with their competition within the region.

CE-2.3 Interim Development. We require interim development that does not reflect the long-term Vision, be limited in scale of development so that the investment can be sufficiently amortized to make Vision-compatible redevelopment financially feasible.
CE-2.4 Protection of Investment. We require that new development and redevelopment protect existing investment by providing architecture and urban design of equal or greater quality.
CE-2.5 Private Maintenance. We require adequate maintenance, upkeep, and investment in private property because proper maintenance on private property protects property values. (Link to Community Design Element Policy CD-5.1)
CE-2.6 Public Maintenance. We require the establishment and operation of maintenance districts or other vehicles to fund the long-term operation and maintenance of the public realm whether on private land, in rights-of-way, or on publicly-owned property. (Link to Community Design Element Policy CD-5.1)
CE-3 Fiscal Decision-making

Every Municipal decision affects the revenues and expenditures of city government. New zoning regulations, for example, can necessitate staff time to document non-conformance created by new standards. Street widening can encourage speeding, requiring increased patrolling and enforcement.

Good decision-making requires that fiscal impacts be reasonably projected and be part of the deliberative process. The City desires to continuously improve its understanding of the direct and indirect fiscal impacts of its decisions and include them in its decision-making process.

This section establishes policies that minimize negative fiscal impacts and incorporate long-term fiscal thinking into decisions.

CE-3 Decision-making deliberations that incorporate the full short-term and long-term economic and fiscal implications of proposed City Council actions.

Fiscal Impact Disclosure. We require requests for City Council action to disclose the full fiscal impacts, including direct and indirect costs.


General Plan Amendments. We require those proposing General Plan amendments to disclose reasonably foreseeable impacts through a fiscal analysis.

CE-3.3 Long-Term Funding Disclosure. We require those requesting City support or funding for projects or programs to disclose if and how they can be continued without further City support.
CE-3.4 Improving Fiscal Decision-Making. We periodically assess the accuracy of projections for staff time and City resources and use the assessment results to improve our fiscal decision-making process.
CE-3.5 Sustainable Development. We recognize impacts to municipal finances as an element of sustainability, and we require claims of sustainability to assess fiscal impacts.
CE-3.6 Fully Funded Liability. We require long-term liabilities, such as retiree medical benefits, employee accrued leave balances, and self-insured liability claims to be fully funded to ensure sound, long-term fiscal health.
CE-3.7 Programmatically Balanced Budget. We require that the annual budget include appropriations allocated in a manner to meet the goal of the programmatically balanced budget.
CE-3.8 Budget Margins. We require that the adopted budget for revenue and expenditures reflect sufficient budget margins to minimize negative impacts to City services due to economic uncertainties.
CE-3.9 Complete Comparative Context. We require that our annual budget process provide the complete comparative context for proposed new and increased funding so decision makers can fully understand the trade-offs among budget choices.

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