The Moose Jaw Express/MooseJawToday.com sent out a questionnaire to each of the candidates running to be the next mayor of Moose Jaw. We will be publishing these results in order they were received.
The mayoral byelection is set for Wednesday, Nov. 3.
What would be your top priority as mayor?
My immediate priority would be bringing in a budget that is balanced between residents’ desired service levels and keeping any tax increase as low as possible. It is fine if we desire weekly garbage or snow removal, but it all comes with cost, which may mean lessening one service area to increase another in order to forego tax increases.
Ongoing though it would be, my priority for a “Moose Jaw first” feel to restore the community vibrancy we once enjoyed. Capitalize on our unique assets, our downtown history and perhaps bring a theme to our city in breathing life back to tourism and River Street/downtown. I would love to see us strengthen our community by investing in the groups that not only help so many areas of our community but show great initiative in helping themselves.
What would you like to accomplish or see happen in your first 100 days?
As mentioned previously, I would like to lead a well-defined balanced budget to keep tax increases at bay. I think we need to create a defined strategy to help with the drug, crime and homeless/hunger issue that are so prevalent in Moose Jaw. As many people mention that this is a provincial area of responsibility, but I believe we as a city have a duty to help. We can support those programs that work hard in our community, much like we see in Regina where they have committed a portion of funds to aid in the fight against homelessness and substance use issues.
How can city council be more transparent in its decision making?
I would like to see a minimum of in-camera meetings. Obviously there are some privacy issues that dictate the need for in-camera, but we need to question, “Does this really need to be in-camera?” Also, with today’s digital reporting and polling capabilities, I think we should seriously consider community focus groups to get a genuine feel for what our citizens really want. I believe this could really instill a trust and cohesiveness between our residents and our staff and council.
What do you think about city council spending more on projects than it budgeted for this year?
Well, this is a tough question in our current pandemic situation contributing to some cost overruns, however, the bottom line is overruns cost the taxpayer in some form or fashion. I believe that a comprehensive budget needs to weigh our priorities against available public resources; once that is completed it should be adhered to as near gospel.
Perhaps our current overspending could be somewhat attributed to some less than realistic contingencies considering much of our project work deals with unknown buried infrastructure and some very old infrastructure. I think that quicker reporting, gathered reliable historic data and a view to possible occurrence of unforeseen issues will help alleviate overruns on my watch.
What do you think about council using surplus account — such as the accumulated account — to pay for unexpected expenses?
Over the course of a budget year our city will often have to deal with unexpected or unknown expenses. Reserves are built to be able to meet these expenses. Of course, this is exercised so we do not affect the budget. Is it ideal? Probably not, but great to be able to cover unexpected expenses without an increase in taxes
Do you think that community beautification initiatives are necessary and should be spent out of surplus funds?
I absolutely believe community beautification initiatives can be helped from surplus funds. Community beautification should be a strategy to maintain, enhance, and change the very character of our city. I believe we would see a “notorious positivity” in our residents, our tourists and our businesses. I don’t think it needs to be a hand-out, rather, support the many groups and associations already working in this area. Crescent Park used to be a magical place for me in my youth. I would love to see it returned to the active, beautiful centerpiece it once was!
Your job is to represent everyone in the city. How do you plan to represent people who do not vote for you?
I am not a politician, I am not wealthy, I work like most people and own only my home. I feel I am really the genuine “average Moose Javian,” warts, blemishes, strengths and weaknesses included. I do consider myself a leader and I have always been able to bring consensus in large numbers. My style is to lead by example and common-sense with fairness and kindness as a guiding principle.
What issue doesn’t receive enough attention in Moose Jaw?
I would have to say the increase in property crime and our growing drug problems. I believe that a concentrated reduction in this area would make Moose Jaw a safer and happier city. Then we can concentrate on our tourism industry, supporting business growth and improving lives for all in Moose Jaw.
What issue receives too much attention?
Our poor roads and constant excavations! We know and live the annoyances, complaints and detours. We really do have a great compliment of capable engineers, planners, operators, managers and employees who earn their paycheques. We are completing kilometre after kilometre of renewal. Sometimes it is difficult to see while avoiding the existing potholes, but we are getting substantially better.
What informs your political stance?
My political philosophy upholds liberty as a core principle, the freedom to govern oneself as long as you are not infringing on another’s freedoms. Having grown up in a Christian household and a family-owned business, I believe in the tenets of hard work and that a client-first attitude is a key to success. My parents taught us to listen more than you talk and always treat others how you would like to be treated.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I spend an inordinate amount of time training my dog to scent and retrieve and she does not seem that grateful for it. I have come to believe that she is only doing it because she thinks I like it.