Somer offers background in budgeting and finance

City of Kelowna: Somer, Derek-councillor candidate says city employee entry level wages and benefits are too costly.  

  • Nov. 3, 2014 7:00 p.m.

1) Spending at city hall has been made an issue in this election campaign. Why do you think the city is or is not spending taxpayers’ dollars efficiently?

There are more City managers than employees. Entry level wages and benefits are way more than the private sector. Kelowna Voters have been told that the high wages are necessary to to be competitive with the private sector yet our young adults have to take minimum wage jobs. I would grandfather existing collective agreements and allow for modest salary jobs to replace vacancies through attrition. This would be fair and open up jobs to our next generation.

 

2) What do you think is the single most important social issue facing the city and how do you think city council should address it?

Affordable housing for all and jobs for our young adult children. Instead of selling so called surplus City land, housing trusts can be set up to provide housing at more affordable costs. Existing City jobs should be grandfathered and job vacancies through attrition should be re tasked at a modest wage to attract young people.

 

3) The recent Conference Board of Canada grade report for Kelowna had the city receiving a low or failing grade on many issues. Do you feel this report was an accurate reflection of our city? Why or why not?

Let’s face it. The silent majority in Kelowna is paying way too much for housing and the job prospects in Kelowna do not offer a living wage. With low interest rates, seniors pensions are not keeping up and those saving for a house will have to wait decades to amass a down payment.  Being poor of basic needs only causes hopelessness and using substances to ease the pain. In Kelowna, food banks have 2500 visits per month.

 

4) What in your background will allow you to deal with conflict within our community on issues that come before city council?

I will get all the facts, get a consensus, and make the decision which is in the best interests of the City.

 

5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be a city councillor?

I have a farming background and am well versed in budgeting and finance. I have volunteered for both the Crisis Line and the Community section of the RCMP and have made a difference in many lives. Giving back to community was my way of recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made by Kelowna Soldiers who liberated my Dutch parents. My personal phone number and email will be available to all citizens of Kelowna (250-808-6863, wdsomer2@gmail.com).

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