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Greetings, I hope youve enjoyed the recent glimpse of spring as much I have.

Thankfully, no matter how long the winter lasts, spring will arrive eventually! It sure is going to feel good this year! This February, I was able to deliver Washburns first State of the City Address. Approximately 75 people gathered at StageNorth for an update on the past years accomplishments, as well as challenges we are currently facing. I hope this can become an annual event, so that each year we can celebrate our citys successes and take a look down the road at what lies ahead. Thank you to all those who attended. In the State of the City I was able offer my thoughts on the future of our regional economy, and the well-worn concept of Regional Self-Reliance. In this issue of Notes from the Mayors Desk I want to share with you more about this exciting topic, as it has the potential to reshape our local economy and provide significant wealth and opportunity. Regional self- reliance is not a new concept, in fact, its how most communities around the world functioned until the mid 20th century. Recently, regional self-reliance hast re-emerged as a strategy for resilient, rural economic development. Its an economic driver thats re-gaining traction as the global marketplace becomes increasingly volatile and unpredictable. Who ever thought that it would cost $2000 to fill your propane tank, or that maybe there wouldnt be enough gas to fill it? The crux of regional self-reliance is this: How can we, as a region, produce the goods, food, energy and services that we need to live a good quality of life? How do we insure, regardless of what goes on in global markets, that we can take care of ourselves? The answers to these questions offers our region some promising economic development potential. We have an amazing opportunity to look around at the things we use, consume, and depend on everyday and ask ourselves, How can we make that here? A key component of regional self- reliance is addressing economic leakages. Currently, we are depending on the rest of the world to provide for the vast majority of our material needs and we are shipping our financial resources away to pay for it. Weve outsourced our own opportunity to create productive livelihoods. Collectively , we must find the ways that we send our dollars out of the region and instead, spend and re-circulate them here in our local economy. When we view this through the lens of becoming more self-reliant, we see that these leakages are golden opportunities to create jobs providing for the essential needs of our community. The money that is currently leaving our region to pay for these goods, provides us with built-in markets and opportunities to grow local businesses. One of the simplest examples to consider is food. Based on USDA estimates, the residents of Ashland, Bayfield and Iron counties collectively spend about $90 million dollars per year on food. An enormous percentage of that food is being shipped in. If we begin to support local producers, farmers, processors and distributors, we can keep a greater portion of that money here in our regional economy. Over time we could capture tens of millions of dollars that are currently leaking from our region. How many other industries in our area can boast a built-in, annual market of tens of millions of dollars? That money is already being spent. Spending more of it in locally owned stores, on locally produced food can have a dramatic effect. Some would argue that currently, local food is cost prohibitive, but consider what happens when we have more local producers and those producers are able to increase their efficiency of scale? On the other side of the equation, consider what happens to the cost of food produced thousands of miles away as fuel prices continue to rise. The price gap between an egg produced by a small farm just up the road and an egg produced on a factory farm in Ohio is closing. Similar arguments can be made for heating our homes, fueling our vehicles and generating electricity. The more of these necessities that we can produce locally, with local ownership and local labor, the greater the benefits to our local economy. Additionally, we are then less susceptible to fluctuations in national and global markets. Many would argue, that there is no way we will ever be regionally self-reliant. I agree, there will always be a flow of goods and currency moving in and out of the region. Becoming completely self-reliant is not the end-goal, per se, but rather a system to be leveraged towards greater economic prosperity. Each step we take toward self-sufficiency and self-reliance will have a reinforcing and cumulative effect on our communitys wealth and well-being. Building a more self-reliant system on a regional scale is no small feat. There are a big questions to answer, innovations to discover, capital to raise, businesses to start and infrastructure to develop. Thankfully, we are a resourceful people with a history of resiliency, innovation and willingness to work hard. I see amazing potential to demonstrate to ourselves and to the world that we in Northern Wisconsin are not living in a depressed economy, but rather living amongst some of the greatest abundance anywhere on the planet. Please take some time to consider how you can support a new vision for our local and regional economy. On the back of this page, you will find some simple things that we can each do right now to help bolster our local economy. I would encourage you to think about how you can begin to shift your own spending habits, because we all make a difference with every dollar we earn and spend. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, suggestions or ideas. You can reach me by email at, by phone at 715.373.6160 x7 or by cell at 715.685.4031. If you do call, even with a complaint, please leave your name and number so I can get back to you. I would also like to encourage you to join the ongoing conversation on Facebook. I often post articles, questions and other things that I think would be of interest. To participate, visit or search Facebook for Scott Griffiths, Mayor of Washburn
Best Regards,

Scott Griffiths, Mayor

The trickle order How do we calculate your water bill with the trickle order in effect? is still in effect! For customers that have less than one year of user history.
We have estimated the amount of water that was used for trickling purposes based on recent averages and applied a credit to your account. For customers that have a year or more of user data. Your current usage has been compared with your average usage over the past two years (excluding the summer months when usage is generally higher). This has allowed us to customize the credit for each household based on actual water used during the trickle order. In all cases, the benefit of the doubt has been given, and the lower water usage amount has been applied. The City of Washburn staff appreciates your patience and understanding during this cold winter. Several days of staff time have been spent helping to unthaw frozen mains and laterals. Your trickling helps to keep utility rates in check by reducing even more staff time being spent on utility matters. We hope to be able to provide an update on the trickling order within a couple weeks.

Washburn EMS needs YOU to become an EMT!

The next course begins in August. Contact Dan Clark for more info.

Please continue to trickle water until further notice.


Some things you can do right away to help bolster our local economy
Shop local! Every dollar you spend in a locally owned store stays here longer.
For every $100 spent in a store with a local owner, $45-70 stays in the local economy to be spent again. For every $100 spent at a corporate owned store like Walmart or dollar stores, only $ 10-20 stays in the local economy to be spent again. The rest goes to their corporate headquarters. For every $100 spent online or out of town with vendors like Amazon, Zappos or Menards less than $1 stays in our local economy to be spent again.

The effects of our spending decisions

For every $100 spent with an online or out of the area retailer Less than $1 stays in our local economy For every $100 spent in a corporate owned chain store $10-30 stays in our local economy
(this does not include locally owned franchises)
compiled from multiple sources:,,

For every $100 spent in a locally owned business $45-70 stays in our local economy

For every $100 spent on locally produced goods $75-100 stays in our local economy!

Ask local retailers to carry locally produced goods whenever possible.

For every $100 spent on locally produced products $75-100 stays in the local economy to be spent again!

Sharing things like tools, lawnmowers and other things that are only used occasionally, keeps more money in a household to be used for other things.

Learn more about regional self-reliance.

We have an enormous opportunity to move in the direction of regional self reliance, building our local economy in the process. - Marthas Vineyards Self Reliance Plan!

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Start making & fixing things again!

Our society has become to reliant on throwing things away and buying new. Fostering repair will give people access to affordable products, make a huge dent in the e-waste problem, and create jobs.

Fuel & Ene r Food


Our local economy

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Get to know your neighbors and share resources.

Our economic bucket can overflow if we actively strive to plug the leaks!
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Find a gap or niche and start your own business!

For this movement to be sucessful, we will need lots of of people to catch the entrepreneurial spirit! What busisness do you think we need to be more self-reliant?

Be willing to spend a little more on locally produced goods!

Want to talk more about a Self-Reliant Regional Economy? Come have Pizza with the Mayor at DaLous Bistro --Thursday, April 1 0th at 6pm