Q1. Will you commit to returning the Hope Township LLRW TRUST Fund capital and unspent interest to the W2 ratepayers?
A1. DIDN’T ANSWER, ONLY COMMENTED.
As stated previously publicly. The new council needs to reinstate the LLRW Trust Fund capital and interest to the ward 2 taxpayers. As Mayor I will introduce and champion this issue until it is resolved.
Q2. Will you respect the terms of the LLRW Agreement (Schedule 8, Township of Hope Fund) which states that the annual interest on the $10M Hope Township LLRW TRUST Fund will be used “to defray the lower tier municipal taxes or levies which would otherwise be payable by the ratepayers” of the former Township of Hope?
A2. YES. In my view the Trust Fund agreement is a legal document and should be treated as such. It never should have been used in any other way then spelled out in the original document. This should have been addressed by previous council. And yes I would commit to following the original terms to the letter.
Q3. Will you commit to re-open the area rating of taxes between Ward 1 and Ward 2, cancel the 37% tax increase to Ward 2, and work out a fair, equitable and transparent sharing of taxes between Ward 1 and Ward 2?
A3. DIDN’T ANSWER, ONLY COMMENTED.
Area Rating was pushed through without true public input or proper justification. It created huge animosity and mistrust. Also if the Trust Fund was being used as intended then possibly area rating would have been unnecessary. Area Rating needs to be reopened and dealt with in an open and transparent manner. Any previous justification should be reexamined. The 37% increase should be frozen until council has completed an unbiased review with valuable public input.
Q4. Will you demand a cost breakdown and public disclosure of where our tax money is being spent in each department and in each Ward?
A4. YES. Absolutely! The new council needs to be open and transparent. We need to investigate where the money is spent and find ways to eliminate waste. This would be one of my top priorities.
Q5. Will you agree to continue OPP policing for Ward 2 as long as Ward 2 residents wish it to continue?
A5. YES. The policing issue is a non issue. Both wards are happy with their representation as it is now. If it’s not broken don’t fix it. The police representation should not be reopened or changed.
Q6. Will you agree to keep the Welcome Fire Station open?
A6. YES. The fire stations and services are in the best locations for response times and accessibility. All stations should remain where they are. This is the most logical and economical solution.
Q7. How will you address and overcome the current discord between Ward 1 and Ward 2 with positive action?
The current discord between wards can be dealt with dialogue, reinstating the LLRW trust fund, reopening area rating and by having a council that understands the uniqueness of both wards and is transparent and open. The new council needs to develop and earn the trust of the taxpayers.