PHFFT Summary of Answers from Candidates for Mayor and Council in Port Hope

Port Hopers for Fair Taxes sent out a questionnaire with 7 questions to all 21 candidates running for mayor and councillor positions in the Municipality of Port Hope election.
Below is the summary of answers received from questions that returned to PHFFT from candidates.
NOTE: Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Candidates that did not submit answers:
Rick Austin
John Bickle
Louise Ferrie Blecher
Jamie Manuel Castillo
Robert Chatten
Mary Lou Ellis
Jeff Lees

Q1. Will you commit to returning the Hope Township LLRW TRUST Fund capital and unspent interest to the W2 ratepayers?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
John Floyd
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Councillor Candidates:
Greg Burns
Tish Nicol
Karen O’Hara
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk
Patricia Sinnott

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Les Andrews (left comment)
Paul Andrus (left comment)
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)
David Turck

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?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
John Floyd
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Councillor Candidates:
Paul Andrus (left comment)
Greg Burns
Tish Nicol
Karen O’Hara
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk
Patricia Sinnott

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Les Andrews (left comment)
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)
David Turck

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?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
John Floyd
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Councillor Candidates
Greg Burns
Tish Nicol
Karen O’Hara
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Patricia Sinnott

NO ANSWER:
David Turck (with comments)

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Les Andrews (left comment)
Paul Andrus (left comment)
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk (left comment)

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?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
John Floyd
Paul Andrus (with comments)
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Councillor Candidates
Greg Burns
Tish Nicol
Karen O’Hara
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk
Patricia Sinnott
David Turck (with comments)

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)

Q5. Will you agree to continue OPP policing for Ward 2 as long as Ward 2 residents wish it to continue?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
Paul Andrus (with commenta)
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Council Candidates:
Les Andrews
Greg Burns
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Tish Nicol
Patricia Sinnott
David Turck

NO ANSWER:
Karen O’Hara

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Les Andrews (left comment)
John Floyd (left comment)
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk

Q6. Will you agree to keep the Welcome Fire Station open?

YES ANSWER:
Mayor Candidates:
Paul Andrus (with comments)
John Floyd
Julie Mavis (with comments)
Bob Sanderson (with comments)

Councillor Candidates:
Greg Burns
Tish Nicol
Karen O’Hara
Allan MacKenzie (with comments)
Tracey Sweeney Schenk
Patricia Sinnott

NO ANSWER:
David Turck (with comments)

DIDN’T ANSWER QUESTION:
Les Andrews (left comment)
Terry Hickey (left comment)
Robert Polutnik (left comment)

Q7. How will you address and overcome the current discord between Ward 1 and Ward 2 with positive action?

Mayor Candidates:

Paul Andrus: 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.

John Floyd: Town Hall has divided the town over are money. I have the expence and history with Hope Township to repair the damage quickly.

Julie Mavis: By focusing directly and unremittingly on fairness, voices heard, embracing Ward 2 and Ward 1 differences, not pretending they don’t exist, and, fundamentally, looking for a new structure of governance. The two-ward system does not work. It has failed us. Just as amalgamation has failed us. This is a fact that unifies all of the people of Port Hope. I will build on that.

Bob Sanderson: I believe much of the discord is due to an administration and council who have made bad decisions at all levels (financial and communications just to stat). Ward 1 and 2 have the same common frustration, that not only sees our council and administration ignoring us and spending inappropriately The issues that Ward 2 have are valid and need to be addressed but it is imperative that council listens to the citizens and treats everyone with respect with open dialog. Public participation is critical. The citizens must be the primary drivers of what is done in the community and the council must listen and ensure the staff and administration does what they are asked to do and they must do it well. The tail does not wag the dog.
In the end, there may be disagreements on issues as there is in any family but like all families, you talk them through and move forward in support of each other. We must be listened to, we must have respect and we must have a say.

Councillor Candidates:

Les Andrews: 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.

Greg Burns: The first step is to have a meeting amongst the new members of Council, to obtain a sense of where they stand on the issue. That has to be the foundation to go forward. If there is a general agreement to work on this, then I would recommend a series of community meetings to obtain input from Ward 2 residents as to what their concerns are (levels of service desired; what they feel is “fair” re. payment for current services provided). It is imperative that we hear their concerns first BEFORE we put together a strategy to move forward – that is where we went wrong the last time, when a plan was developed and then residents were asked for feedback versus input from the start. Depending upon the strategy created, it may recommend starting over with full transparency (eg. complete breakdown of expenses and revenues for both Wards to clearly illustrate the actual costs of running the Municipality).

Terry Hickey: The indication of discord between Ward 1 and Ward 2 is wrongly phrased. The issue is with Ward 2 and the Municipal Government. I believe that any Ward 2 special interest groups who suggest such a discord are doing a disservice to both Wards.

Allan MacKenzie Taxes need to be reduced. People need to be able to access complete and accurate info. Council needs to listen. Respect and understanding for others needs to be paramount towards all from all.

Tish Nicol: First and foremost I want the Ward 2 People to know that we do not want them to separate! I will make sure the lines of communication are open to get the concerns of ward 2 on the table and to work on their issues to help them feel at one with our community again! The only way to rebuild the trust in ward 2 again is to reestablish the reserve funds that are missing and to keep the line of communications open. They are a vital part of our community and we need to always keep them involved in decision making.I spent many years on the Agricultural Society Board working with many of the ward two residents who were hard working people now how to get the job done! I was a resident of Ward 2 until my area was changed to Ward 1 and my sons went to George Hamilton Public school during their Elementary Schooling so I am very aware and empathetic to their issues.

Karen O’Hara: 1) Start with a public meeting to presents the facts on all issues and include staff, Council and the public
2) Advertise to strike a “task force”, which should include the Mayor, Ward 1 and Ward 2 Council Rep, and 2 members at large from each Ward.
3) Monthly updates should be presented to Council and the public
4) The time frame should be 1 year for the task force to presents their findings.
5) Move forward as 1 community or apply for de-amalgamation.

Robert Polutnik: I can only speak for myself but I do not feel like I am part of the rural community, which to a great degree is my own fault and I would then have to surmise that the members of the rural community do not feel part of the urban. I do not have an immediate answer to this issue but a first step might be to start celebrating our similarities and our differences together as proud members of one community.

Tracey Sweeney Schenk: It seems that most of the discord stems from Ward 2’s financial issues: loss of the 10 MM Trust, which must be restored to a proper trust; and the increase in taxes looming for Ward 2. Ward 2 is presently facing the tax increases that Ward 1 has already suffered over the past several years. In neither case is it acceptable.
Addressing these matters in an equitable way will go a long way to resolving discord.
It also seems that the voice behind this questionnaire is exclusively Ward 2; which I have no issue with but be clear that I intend to be an equally balanced voice for both Wards; irrespective of which voters are able to cast a vote in my favour.

Patricia Sinnott
Concerns expressed by residents of Ward 2 must be heard respectfully by the new Mayor, Council, Town Hall staff and residents of Ward 1. Bringing together residents of both wards to begin dialogue exploring the benefits of collaborating on a new vision for an amalgamated Port Hope would be a first step. Overcoming discord can be achieved by engaging people then working together toward common goals that benefit all citizens in our community.

David Turck: We need to sit down and have an open and sincere dialogue to resolve these differences for the benefit of our municipality. We need to work together, not against one another.