- Council can be divisive and public reaction to controversial decisions critical. How would you handle dissenting opinions on council or public criticism, and can we count on you to respect all opinions, whether you agree or not?
I have served as a Councillor on PA City Council for four terms over the past 30 years. I honor and respect the democratic process – majority vote and respect dissenting opinions of colleagues which are healthy in a democracy.
- The city is facing several major urgent infrastructure needs, such as the new recreation centre, roads in need of repaving, the central avenue replacement and aging water and sewer infrastructure. How would you prioritize what work needs to be done without breaking the bank? What do you think the top infrastructure priorities are?
Start the restoration of the infrastructure (sewer & water) on Central Avenue over a 3 year period and do streetscaping in year 4.
Regular replacement of our 64 kms of worn-out water pipes and expedite this program if more monies become available in the future.
- 3)One of the biggest line items in the city’s budget is the police budget. Do you support increasing or decreasing the police budget? If increasing, where will that money come from? If decreasing, where will it go?
As you know, I have in the past put forward a motion to reduce our 21 million dollar police budget by 10%. The average police salary is $130,000.00 a year and 47 out of one hundred police officers don’t live in the city; therefore the city receives no property tax. We don’t require 20 plus Sergeants. We need more old-fashioned community policing.
Decrease in funding would pay for the restoration of Central Avenue or reduce the high taxes paid by city property owners or reduce the high water fills due to infrastructure costs being added. (Double taxation)
- 4) The city is facing rising rates of crime and poverty. While enforcement is part of the picture, so is prevention, including supporting the most vulnerable. Should the city play a bigger role in fighting poverty and homelessness? If so, how?
The City need to work in partnership with higher levels of government and community organizations to reduce homelessness and help folks secure jobs to reduce poverty.
Some homeless folk have mental health and addictions issues. We need an educated populace to assist those ready to access community help and follow through with assistance.
- 5) The city has come under fire recently for poor communication with residents. Do you see this as a problem? How will you address this?
I believe communication with city residents on municipal issues is improving. The repairs to inner city streets led to many mature trees being removed. Many affected homeowners would have appreciated earlier communication of the reason for this before these historic trees were cut down. I believe all elected officials and senior administrators strive to communicate better with the citizens we serve. (Learn from our mistakes).
- 6) What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the city/ward? What do you propose as a solution?
I see seven major issues facing our city:
- High business and residential property taxes.
- Property crime mainly due to alcohol/drug offenders. Homeowners fear for their safety and security.
- The physical deterioration of the inner city, mid-town and section of the west-flat.
- The increasing city debt. It was 21 million and will be over 50 million in 2021. The Wastewater (sewer) treatment plant needs 40 plus million upgrades.
- Need for improved city street cleaning, flower beautification and riverbank development.
- City Council, in a 5-4 vote decided to build #8 and #9 hockey rinks versus more urgent infrastructure repairs, ex. Wastewater treatment plant. Furthermore, the city didn’t need to purchase 18 acres of land for 6.5 million when it had land for a Water Palace. In our difficult financial times I opposed this project. Covid-19 will effect City revenue and many citizens are not working yet. Many service industry workers and seniors are financially and emotionally hurting.
- Central Avenue in the city core could have had its infrastructure (sewer, water and street paving) restored and streetscaping completed in 2020 for the 6.5 million dollars Mr. Dionne spent for his 18 acre land purchase from Signature at an inflated price. Revitalizing the heart of our city is essential versus building our 8th and 9th hockey rinks. Our present four community club hockey/skating rings were not mentioned in the City’s submission for federal and provincial financial help. Small business enhancement is crucial for the survival of any size community.
A city solution to these problems will require the majority of council taking concrete steps to address them. Consultation with representatives of the community and citizens at large is essential.
- 7) Why should people vote for you?
My life has been devoted to public service. I will strive with my colleagues to improve services and programs for all our citizens. Ex. Roads, water/sewer, recreation/parks, housing, fire/police while striving to keep taxes reasonable and debt manageable. We must live within our means!
I promise the citizens of Prince Albert, open, honest, accountable, fair governance by a ‘servant leader’. I assure you that this will be refreshing for our citizens!