Thompson brings past civic governemnt experience

City of Kelowna: Thompson, Mark-mayor candidate says locking the city into zero per cent tax increase is not responsible fiscal management.

  • Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 1:00pm
  • News

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?

“On the matter of taxation we need to be clear that responsible fiscal management is mandatory.”  Locking council into a 0% increase in taxation rates for four years in and by itself is not responsible. A good part of our annual budget is driven by provincial contracts that we do not control.   On the other hand large increases are not necessary or fair to our citizens. We must hold the line!   Zero Based budgeting should be the standard approach meaning not much is sacred.  “An overall objective to not increase taxation more than inflation is a pragmatic approach.”    “I am well known for being an effective Budget Watchdog.” “The budget process needs to be open to the public.”   The public deserve the opportunity to suggest improvements to a draft budget.  In the annual budget there is this curious use of accumulated surplus account funds.   Many millions of dollars on the revenue side in from the surplus account and curiously many millions more on the expense side out to the Surplus account   We need to take a really close look to ensure that this isn’t just a way to fudget the budget.

A City Manager costing nearly $300,000 annually is worthy of note.

The current practice of making almost all budget decisions behind closed doors brought forward to a phantom council meeting to rubber stamp is not congruent with the spirit of provincial legislation. The people deserve better!

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

The number one social issue continues to be a lack of affordable housing.  This is true for both the blue collar worker and the very poor.

Kelowna needs a housing policy that will provide more multi and single family housing units for people with less than average income.

As Mayor I would work with the Council to ask the Administration to bring forward options with a reference to best practises in other Canadian Cities in Canada.

The city needs to allow the densification of the land mass within City Limits with special emphasis on finding ways to minimize the cost of land per housing unit.

The City needs to advocate for provincial and federal assistance programs. (Government programs have been verysuccessful in the past.)

 

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?  Yes

Why or why not?

The conference Board of Canada is well known for the quality of Research that they perform.

A quick survey of people that live in Kelowna will tell almost any surveyor that people do not actually feel welcome upon arriving in Kelowna.   This feeling continues for 10 20 or 30 years.

 

4) Define what you think the role of the mayor is in providing direction for city council and as the public representative for our city?

Often Councillors have different positions on many matters.  It is the role of the Mayor to build consensus bringing the majority of council to support a reasonanable position for the City.

The Mayor is the chief ambassador of the City and has a responsibility to communicate the majority position of Council.

 

5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be mayor?

Experience & Maturity

I have nine years of experience as a City Councillor in Saskatoon, one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. I led the transformation of the Property Assessment system to become fairer as the chairman of the SAMA board for the entire province of Saskatchewan. I served as the Vice Chair of the City of Kelowna Planning Commission and I have had several terms as President of the Okanagan Mission Residents’ Association.

“My experience is second to none.   I am not someone else’s puppet and my vote is not dictated by what I owe to others and never has been.   Who can you see best being able to direct Council Policy to the City Manager?  Great leadership is not based on being a buddy of the top administration.

We need to look at reality.  In more than 35 years observing business and Politics I know that if the option is available, experience and maturity are almost always the best path.   You may want to question why really big money is sponsoring a candidate without much experience and who is very young.  Check out the management