With 2016 coming to a close I would like to share my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017.
It has been a tough time for hundreds of thousands of Albertans who have been negatively affected by the recent downturn in the economy.
Whenever Albertans are tested by lower resource productivity we come out stronger and more resilient than before. I know we will once again do that in 2017. As such, I would like the residents of Ward 4 to know that when it comes to municipal issues I will continue to be there to listen to their feedback and concerns. Together I know we can get through these tough times.
With 2017 here, I would like to ring in the New Year with some resolutions of my own:
- Given the tough economic year faced by so many in 2016 I will continue to do what I have done since 2013 and advocate for lower taxes and utility rates. Often, elected officials see a tax increase as “small” or “not a big deal.” However, to the everyday citizen an increase means another $100 that would go to paying for a bus pass, a load of groceries, or school supplies for their children. To most Calgarians any raise in taxes and utility rates is a big deal. I was glad to see my colleagues agree to offset this year’s Property Tax increase by tapping into the Fiscal Sustainability Fund. However, if we were to control our spending proactively then we could avoid having to try and lower taxes retroactively. I want to try and do whatever I can to help keep as much money in people’s pockets as I can.
- I will continue to support the Green Line Light Rail Transit project. If we can secure provincial funding for this project, the last portion of funding that is still required, and then work on the largest LRT line in Calgary’s history can begin in 2017. I am very proud to have been part of a small group that recognized the need for the Green Line and helped secure the Federal funding in June 2015. The Green Line will completely reshape Calgary and Ward 4 by providing light rail transit to Calgarians. I will continue to advocate to my Provincial counterparts in Edmonton to fund the Green Lines remaining $1.53 Billion missing portion so that the complete 45km track from Seton to Keystone can be completed.
- I will continue to press for City Administration to find efficiencies. After spending three years on Council already doing this I know we have found some savings but more can still be done. I will continue to make Council ponder the question of whether we are spending tax dollars on needs or wants. Calgarian’s needs must be met but frivolous spending on wants increases tax and utility rates needlessly.
- I will support the City of Calgary policy that reduces the wages of Councillor’s by 2.49%. From day one I have said that Council should lead by example.
- I will continue my open door policy into 2017. This means that any Ward 4 resident who wishes to speak to me can. I will try my best to respond directly to calls, emails and tweets. I know not everyone will agree with all of my stances but I will give everyone the respect of being heard and try to foster good conversation. In my opinion good discussion is needed in democracy and in 2017 I will continue to listen to those that want to be heard.
- I will also continue to not support the idea that municipal jurisdictions should have taxation powers. This is being discussed by some elected officials in the conversations surrounding City Charters.
- Finally in 2017, I will continue my quest for implementing common sense. Sometimes government can over think things when more basic thinking is required. To achieve this I will continue to ask foundational questions that ensures more common sense is utilized. This will include asking whether it is the City’s job to address this issue, can the market or an origination do this more efficiently than Government and whether Council is respecting tax payers money. Tax dollars come from ratepayers and for every new initiative or project this means that taxpayers must foot a larger burden. All of our decisions should be based with this notion in mind.
As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 begins anew these are some of the resolutions I look forward to bringing to Council in the New Year. I hope that 2017 is a better year for Calgarians and I am excited to see how we all come together in 2017 to make this city an even better place to live.
Thank you for a memorable 2016, and wishing you and your family all the best in 2017!