Lower Taxes: Everyone wants lower property taxes. I do too. In my second term as city councilor, I was made Chair of the Finance committee and saw my job as helping broker consensus between Council members to lower tax rates. We have successfully reduced taxes from the 5.8% increase, approved by previous Councils for the past decade, down to just 3%. This is a good start but there isn’t much room for greater future decreases unless we make bolder decisions to reduce spending. These decisions relate to changes in land use that will result in industry, commerce, and jobs coupled with incentives to bump start progress in our community. In addition, we must seek other sources of income. For example establishing a power service company to sell power into the grid and the creation of a cell-tower policy, which I did get put in place, that requires municipal lands to be considered first for tower sites, returning a much-needed revenue stream and control of where towers can be situated to the community. Lowering taxes is a goal we much achieve, however there are demands such as infrastructure and needed amenities that we must deliver. The pursuit of income other than just residential property taxes will allow us to deliver all these needs.
Cut waste: We must ensure City Hall is efficient. I hear complaints, on an ongoing basis, for a myriad of issues such as how long it takes to get a building permit through City Hall to hidden surprises (costs and processes) on development applications. We have a lot of work to do in this area. My first task will be to implement performance measures for every department. Procedures, related to items such as building inspections, building plan review, issuing permits, planning and engineering reviews, and filing processes for bylaws will be examined and efficiencies sought and implemented throughout the entire organization. I have no doubt that we will discover some areas of our business that should indeed be contracted out to those with specialized knowledge and abilities that will result in a more fluid and efficient City Hall. Currently, we have no idea where the waste is, why it is occurring, and even if we need to add resources to help with efficiencies. Without performance measures we will never find out. The purpose of efficiency measures is to help determine the best possible way to conduct business and deliver services to facilitate the best possible experience for our customers – the community. Our goal must be to provide the best possible service with the least possible waste and delay. Efficient and effective processes will ensure we can deliver excellent customer service today and into the future.