KAWARTHA LAKES-Ward Seven is in the central to southern portion of the City of Kawartha Lakes. It includes a portion of the Town of Lindsay and the village of Valentia. According to the final voters list for 2014 there are 8798 electors in Ward Seven.
The boundaries are as follows:
All lands west of boundary of Ward 6; south of boundary Ward 5; east of boundary ward 4 and north of Lot 1 to 18 Concession 12 Manvers.
There are two candidates vying to be your council representative in Ward Seven. Charles Clarke and Patrick O’Reilly.
We asked each candidate the same three questions.
1)What are the top three issues in your ward?
2)If elected what would you do about these issues?
3)A Facebook poll we conducted found that the majority of residents (who answered the poll)would prefer better roads over lower taxes. Would you increase taxes to fix our roads?
The responses are posted in the order in which they were received.
The Top 3 issues in my ward are 1) taxes, 2) roads, 3) more industry/jobs.
1)If elected, I would strive hard to keep taxes to a very minimal increase. I feel the taxpayer cannot be gouged anymore than he/she is now.
2)Roads – I feel we must address. If elected, as soon as possible, we need to make sure our roads are looked after for our taxpayers to be able to travel to and from work or whatever they want to do. The last couple of years, the roads have gone downhill and must be addressed.
3)Industry needs to be welcomed to come here. Red tape needs to be cut. We need to encourage business – not discourage.
Lastly, to address your question Would I increase taxes to fix roads?
The last thing I would want to do is increase taxes to fix roads. I would rather find efficiencies to fix the roads over a tax increase.
The top three issues I believe are most important is the ten year financial plan that we put in place at the city, it’s the first one we’ve had in a long time as well as our Asset Management Plan. I think that’s really important so we can keep our tax levels at or below 2.5 or 3 % in the future. And this year we realized a surplus of $1.5 million. The second would be efficiencies, I think we have to look for efficiencies within the city especially with the Core Services Review and the Asset Management Plan and both go a long way to continue to find efficiencies along the way. I think probably one of the largest ones too is growth. Infrastructure and taxes, by that I mean once we have our city in a good financial situation I think it is going to be so we are posed and ready for present growth as well as future growth. Our growth projection is up 1.5% from a 1% expectation. Within that our building permits are up over 20% over last year and there are 16 new developments going on in and around our area. I think that’s something to look forward to. The subdivision across the the airport, former Mason land, bought by Craft, they are starting to fill that for a 300,000 square foot commercial with a number of stores coming we believe a large box store and a site plan for 500 residential units as well.
I think it’s really important we talk about our tourism and agriculture, certainly with agriculture its the largest driver within our city and we’ve made good inroads within that area especially with our new culinary strategy plan and I think that’s certainly going to add to a new group, especially with an new Farmfest tour this year. We are going to have restaurants as well as our typical farm tour and we are certainly working with the goat and dairy farmer industry as well and I think this is all lumped in with tourism and agriculture because it’s part of a bigger strategy. We also have a tremendous response for our new website and I think with our development itself we have the Downtown Revitalization Strategy, of course the new CIP plan as well.
Another important part is the arts and culture which is coming forward as well, I think with that there’s a new plan coming forward, hopefully the new council and I would certainly support any investment in arts and culture and we can’t also forget about the environment especially with our Lake Management Plans.
With regard to the Facebook Poll on roads, I would say to this that I think if that’s what the majority of people want but I think since we have embarked on our new Capital Roads Plan we’ve got 85 million dollars invested in our road system over the next five years and that’s including 4.5 million to rehabilitate our worst gravel roads so I think within that we have a very good strategy going forward but for me personally I wouldn’t be to increase taxes if this strategy has worked and we have put a number of dollars into this.