Thursday, 27 June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

9 Individual - Taxes - Street Fair and Will

I have learned that council is made up of 9 individuals that sometimes are very independent in their thinking and at other times very inclusive. Sometime I have a great idea in my mind that is not shared and that is good. Sober thought is what makes up the first level of government. Civic politics is inclusive. You call me I listen, you want information you get it, you need something looked after I try for a solution. My other councillors seem to be the same in reacting to our citizens needs.

Where it becomes difficult is attempting to be the expert on everything that comes forward. Some on council would profess to be that, I do not. I need your feedback and encourage your dialogue. I will give you an example. I voted on two readings against the tax increase as presented by administration. I asked questions the last was if the business community would see increases. I was told commercial rates would be “revenue neutral to the city. Now that I type it out it begs questions. At the time in the council chambers with 8 others, administration and media present I must say I thought it meant our businesses would see no increase. As you know I was totally wrong. Yep I am not perfect, ask my wife Kathy. Some have seen massive increases mostly due to the provincial assessment being updated since the last one four years ago and of course our increases for roads and infrastructure improvements. Well, I missed the boat. I did not understand the meaning. I would not have voted in favour if I had known. We have talked to many businesses and I gave feedback to administration and the mayor. Today the mayor is announcing a way to attempt to mitigate the pain over six months. Those businesses with increases can opt to pay the increase in six months by November 30th without penalties. Or better yet go on the TIPPS program and pay 1/12 monthly. Both viable options and I hope they are useful to our businesses that need help.

What a spring rain, rain go away. Saturday’s Street Fair went forward even with the poor weather. It speaks to the tenacity of merchants, displayers, performers and our public. This event brings for one day the dream I have for our downtown. Just think if we had a vibrant downtown community with this happening every week. With musicians, artisans, merchants, families and tourists coming to be part of the downtown fair. We could start with one days a week and grow to what the public demand. But it takes will - property owners, businesses, government but most important you must have the will to improve our downtown.

I would love to revitalize our downtown, encourage it to be a gathering or meeting place. Increase our heritage and culture by developing museums, interactive enactments, possibly have a huge heritage themed water feature on the riverbank, develop shops for artisans, farmers markets, new entrepreneurs. I believe if they build it the people will come, business will develop and we will have people wanting to live downtown close to the new gathering or meeting place. Will it happen in a few years, no it will take 10 or 20 years but if we do not do it now it will not happen. We need to get started. And the phobia about not wanting to come downtown will be gone as the problems will move away because of all the traffic. So we have other issues always coming forward, little money to fund so many community initiatives.

So if you have ideas and positive ideas give me a call. I need the positive 90%, because too often the 10% negative that drive our agendas and in the long run curb our ability to get things done, so let’s work together to get the most done in the next 3 years. We need to work for the betterment of all.

Call me I need your positive input. (If negative please call one of the other councillors...just kidding call me)

Rick