Prince Albert mayoral candidate Josh Morrow pledged to reduce utility bills, improve police and fire response times, and turn Prince Albert into the most business-friendly city in Saskatchewan if elected.
The promises were part of a 10-point policy platform released on Monday. The list of priorities also included a pledge to reduce taxes, spend tax dollars more efficiently, and improve the quality of life for seniors. Morrow also announced plans to reveal a four phase safety and security policy to reduce violent crime later this week.
“I truly want people to understand that we can do so much better than what we’ve done in the past,” Morrow told reporters during a campaign announcement Monday afternoon. “We just all need to pull together to get that done. As a tighter community—as a community that really wants to see things change—we all have to stand up and be heard. That’s something that will make this place a much better place than it is today.”
Morrow said high utility bills and delayed public services were among the biggest concerns he’s hearing about on the campaign trail. His platform included a pledge to review the utility bill process with the goal of making it more cost-effective. Morrow said he would hope to have a full review and feasibility study done by the end of February 2021.
“In my opinion, there is always a better way to do something,” he said. “I’ve heard enough feedback from the community that utility bills are too high. I think people are struggling with them. I think people are struggling to understand them.”
“If there are areas we can improve on, we’re going to do that, and make sure that we pass that reduction in cost on to the taxpayer and the citizens of Prince Albert,” he added.
Police and fire department response times and waste management are also a concern. Morrow said residents want these and other city services delivered in a timely manner, but that isn’t happening in every area of the city.
The Prince Albert Fire Department has already outlined plans two build two new fire stations, which they say would cut down on response times around the city—particularly in the southeast corner. Morrow wants to see a review of the Prince Albert Police Service to find ways they can cut down on response times too.
“I don’t believe that we’re getting the timely service that we need from the police department,” he said. “I know a lot of people have spoken to me about being fifth or sixth or seventh in the call queue when they have an issue or an emergency, and that’s nothing against our police department. They are overworked, but that’s a massive concern for me, that when you need help and when you call for help, somebody is there to respond to it and you’re not the fifth or sixth person in line.”
When asked about his business policies, Morrow promised to meet and work with local business leaders to help promote the community. He said promoting Prince Albert as a positive place would help bring more people to the community, which would mean more customers for local businesses.
Morrow also promised to bring a more cooperative approach to municipal governance. He said there are too many organizations in Prince Albert who are pursuing worthwhile goals, but doing it individually. He said city council needs to provide stronger leadership, and get everyone pulling in the same direction.
“I do believe that we need more community involvement, and we do need somebody who’s going to bring everybody together,” he said. “That’s something that’s been missing here for far too long. I really want to restore that sense of community … and really get people excited about their city once again.”
Morrow’s platform also included a pledge to “restore accountable and responsible spending at City Hall.” When asked what areas of the city’s finances were being mismanaged, Morrow said there were multiple projects where the City did not get a good return on its investment.
When asked about the cost of his own campaign promises, Morrow said he didn’t have an exact figure at this time, but said a more stringent overview of all city projects would help prevent wasteful spending.
“That’s where I would really like to bring this back down to—is making sure that the project management experience is showcased and make sure that there’s an overview from somebody who really does understand the issues,” he said.
Morrow is running against Darryl Hickie, Dennis Nowoselsky and incumbent Greg Dionne for Mayor of Prince Albert. The election is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 9.