“If you don’t like the way the city is being run, run for city council.”
I don’t like the way the city is being run and so I am running for Abbotsford City council to change the way the city is run, the way council behaves.
I believe that when an action council wants to take is against the Municipal Act council should obey the law – not ignore the law and/or find a way to circumvent the law. Particularly when the Municipal Act prohibits the action in order to protect municipal taxpayers from being saddled with multi-million dollars subsidies for the purchase of a professional hockey team. As the taxpayers of Abbotsford were when Abbotsford Council ignored the law and as the taxpayers of Chilliwack were NOT when Chilliwack council obeyed the law.
When a city council has such contempt for the Act that governs the way they manage the municipality that they feel it is their right to ignore or circumvent any law that interferes with what they want to do – what other laws, rules and regulations they have chosen to ignore or circumvent?
I believe that when a matter is before council that involves a person, company or organization that has made political contributions to the election of councillors those councillors must disclose this conflict and disqualify themselves from voting on any matter that affects a contributor to their election campaigns.
No councillor or mayor should sneak a matter that was voted down at one council meeting back before council at the next council meeting when one of the people who voted against the rezoning to permit the project is out of town; should they lack the integrity not to sneak the matter back before council, they should NOT be voting to approve the rezoning of a project proposed by a contributor to the mayor and councillor’s election campaign. Particularly when the other councillors vote against the project and it is only the two votes of those who were……contributed to by the developer that result in approval for the matter under consideration.
Council’s behaviour sets the tone for the behaviour of city staff. if council behaves in illegal and ethical ways……
I believe that a councillor must have a grasp of financial realities, an understanding of basic mathematics and an ability to step back in order to avoid getting so fixated on one aspect of the matter you make costly, millions of dollars costly, errors.
Abbotsford current council is so fixated on getting $61 million dollars of federal money for the water infrastructure upgrade they have not only poisoned the working relationship with Mission (buses, waste treatment, Norrish Creek water) but have spent $200,000 for a PR campaign to convince Abbotsford’s voters that paying an extra $127 million dollars in order to secure $61 million in federal grant money is a good idea.
Now if the mayor, council and staff each want to give me $127, I will be more than happy to give them $61 for that $127 because I will make $66 per person. What would you say if I offered to give you back $61 if you gave me $127? This is why the only choice for financially sensible taxpayers is to vote NO on November 19th’s P3 referendum.
I believe that an apology to the mayor, council and citizens of Mission for the boorish behaviour of Abbotsford’s mayor and council is due and that the most intelligent, fiscally responsible, course of action is to work with Mission as originally planned before Mayor Peary and councils temper tantrum at not getting their own way.
Under the original Mission/Abbotsford water infrastructure upgraded Abbotsford was to pay 2/3 of the cost and Mission 1/3.
Mayor Peary, council and staff are insisting that Abbotsford proceed alone to get federal funds to cover 21% of the project.
” I believe that a councillor must have …… an understanding of basic mathematics.” Anyone with an understanding of basic mathematics knows that 1/3 or 33% is larger than 21%. That working with Mission and having them pay 33% is a smarter financial choice than Abbotsford proceeding on its own in order to get a 21% federal grant.
Take into account the $1 million per year ($30 million over the 30 year planned operating period) extra it will cost to operate the water treatment under a P3 and going with the original partnership with Mission is a ‘No Brainer’. Except perhaps those who are mathematically challenged or , like the scarecrow in the wizard of Oz lack a….
I believe that council has a duty of care to manage the city’s business in a prudent, thoughtful and fiscally responsible manner that reflects the best interests of the City and its Citizens.
It is not council’s job to be looking for profits. Being prudent, thoughtful and fiscally responsible means council should not be chasing ‘profits’. Being prudent, thoughtful and fiscally responsible requires council to be aware that it is not savings when it costs you more to repair or finish a project.
I believe in behaving in a financially responsible manner, solid financial management and the need for leadership on finances.
Strict budgeting, financial discipline and squeezing as much bang from my bucks as possible are required in order to stretch a extremely limited income to pay my rent and cover my bills. I believe that council should behave as they would with their own money.
Properly used budgeting is a valuable management tool to control costs and understand where money is actually being spent. But this only applies where budgeting is treated as a serious exercise. However, with the fudge-a-budget Abbotsford’s staff and council currently produce, no benefits to management of the city’s operations and finances occur. Abbotsford’s budget process needs to be restructured so that the operational and financial management benefits of a well-managed budgeting process can be realized.
In a tight economy council should be showing leadership through such policies as no management salary raises, eliminating luxury budget items such as the mural recently painted on the walls at ARC and cutting actual budget items, not just items placed in the budget so council can be seen to be making budget cuts. If citizens have good ideas or suggestions then council should have no hesitation to make use or adopt these ideas or suggestions. If council is going to ask the public’s participation in the budget process they shouldn’t ignore or criticize the public suggestions and ideas simply because they are not what council wants to hear.
I believe in financial transparency; that taxpayers have the right to know how and where their money is being spent without the need to file FOI (freedom of information request) after FOI after FOI.
Council is there to serve the interests of all citizens, not just those who contribute to their election campaigns, have wealth or influence.
Facilities, fields, participation in sports and sports leagues should be accessible to all citizens. Membership at city facilities should not be the most expensive in the city. When it is significantly cheaper to be a member at a private gym than to be a member at a city facility, council’s priorities need to be realigned.
Houses in older residential areas of the city should not be torn down and replaced with monster homes. It is important to preserve the affordable housing that older neighbourhoods with smaller houses comprises.
Council should be providing leadership in the areas of affordable housing, homelessness, mental health and addiction services and support programs, poverty and hunger. Understand that leadership does not mean the city should be spending significant sums of money to address these issues. That is the responsibility of senior levels of government.
Abbotsford’s current mayor and council like to excuse themselves by pointing fingers at the provincial and federal governments. However, when the province makes available $11 million in capital funding to build affordable housing and an additional $650,000 per year for 25 years for support programs leadership requires that Council make use of those funds, no matter how politically uncomfortable showing that leadership may cause Council to be.
Abbotsford has many good people who want to help address these issues. What Abbotsford doesn’t have is the leadership that would give people, churches and other groups who want to be part of addressing these issues a focal point to come together, set priorities and work on accomplishing those priorities.
The first thing I did when I moved to Abbotsford 20 some odd years ago, was to get a library card. I consider the library or libraries in a community to be the most important public buildings; particularly in this day and age of rampant illiteracy, and functional illiteracy. A library is the crossroads of the community.
Over the years I’ve watched the demand for floor space at Clearbrook library make the library more and more crowded.
Clearbrook needs more study carousels, study rooms for students working on group projects and a space suitably large to house the children’s sub-library. The reason that the Clearbrook library building was built with a basement was to provide space for the library to expand into as Abbotsford grew and the demands on the library grew.
Unfortunately for the library, the librarians, patrons and the community the library isn’t a priority for mayor or counsel. Especially when there is money to feed councils spendthrift ways available by renting out the basement space to UFV.
Councils priorities should be the needs of the community. Not that needs the mayor and councillors.
One final point, I believe that the deal the mayor and counsel made to subsidize a professional hockey team – The Heat – is an illegal and therefore null and void. That the province must act on this violation of the Community Charter that governs municipalities in British Columbia.