How Those Elected In 2014 Answered

This document contains the answers of only those elected in response to questions from the burg watch readers.

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How Those Elected Responded

For the record, here is how those elected responded to questions from the burg watch readers:

Mayor
DiCarlo, Aldo all
Deputy Mayor
DiPasquale, Bart 8
Councillor
Courtney, Joan the first 5
Fryer, Rick 0
Lavigne, Jason 8 and made it clear he would not respond to any more
Meloche, Leo 1
Pouget, Diane 21

Final Update Of Candidates’ Answers

Thank you to the burg watch readers for the questions that allowed for scrutiny of the candidates beyond their marketing material.

Thank you to the candidates who took the time to answer the questions.

This final updated document is available for your review and may not be copied or distributed, in whole or in part, without written permission of theburgwatch.com.

Given the time required to update the document, a deadline of 6 pm Sunday was set for the candidates to respond; therefore, this document does not include those who answered after the deadline.

The following candidates have never answered any questions from the burg watch readers:

Mayor
Sutton, John

Deputy Mayor
Davies, Carolyn
Menna, John

Councillors
Cleminson, Frank
Dupont, John
Fryer, Rick
McLean, Darryl
Pillon, Robert 

Glenn Swinton Answers Dr. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions

Dr. C. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions To The Candidates were posted on September 18, 2014, although no answers would be published until after the Chamber of Commerce candidate event to avoid any possibility of some candidates not doing their independent research.

Although the Chamber of Commerce may not have used them, two councillor candidates answered the questions; Glenn Swinton’s answers are below and Scott Kendell’s are in a separate post.

Question: What is “Transparency” in municipal financial management terms?
Question: What is “Accountability”?
Question: What is a “Budget”?
Question: What is the Municipal Assessment “Mill Rate”? What is Amherstburg’s current residential Mill Rate? Supplemental Question: What is the Name of the Agency Responsible for municipal property assessments?
Question: What is Council’s role in respect to Infrastructure Municipal Debenture funding?

Let me try to provide an answer for the questions raised by Dr. C. Lloyd Brown-John. With respect to your question 1 and 2 directed at us hopeful council candidates, I believe that the terms “Transparency” and “Accountability” are simply convenient trigger words some are set on using in their campaign simply to gain credibility from the voters.

Transparency as it would relate to “Municipal financial management terms” should mean that the strength and weaknesses of financial commitments be portrayed to the investors (or taxpayers if you will), in clear and un obscured reports so as to ensure that everyone is aware of the risks or rewards to be expected. This should not be confused with an assumption that daily financial reports will be presented to the public for review or open voting on financial decisions.

Accountability, well accountability is a pretty clearly defined word. According to Webster’s Dictionary accountability is defined as “required to explain actions or decisions to / required to be responsible for something or someone. For someone running for council to promise “accountability” could potentially be a sign that they have never been involved in politics or never should have been in the first place. No one member of a council can really be accountable for the decisions of said council. One vote of seven couldn’t possibly take all the credit for poor decisions nor should anyone expect that they would. If we are to talk accountability perhaps we should review re-occuring team voting?

Personally, I think the last thing that should be included in anyones campaign is the phrases “Accountability or Transparency”. Neither of these qualities could any one member of a council provide as a comity member providing a vote. I for one would rather see Honesty and Integrity but the reputations of those words have been tainted by politics around the globe.

As for a budget… likely best described as a projection of known/anticipated income and known/anticipated expenses. A budget must be drawn with figures that are as close to realistic as physically possible to ensure that the chances of a healthy balance is achieved. By way of “budgeting” we hope to allocate anticipated funds to necessary expanses in advance to better prepare for the upcoming fiscal year.

The municipal Assessment rate or “mill rate” is essentially a taxpayers tax rate. It* is the annual percentage due as taxes based on an assessment of the value of your property as evaluated by MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corp.) The current “residential” mill rate for Amherstburg is 0.01532170 which means that a residential property with a value of say $250,000 will be responsible for or “accountable for” $3830.43 in taxes for 2014. This rate has increase from last years mill rate of 0.01475151. That same $250,000 property last year paid $3687.88. An increase of $142.56 per year or $11.88 per month, $2.97 per week. For the record, although Amherstburg’s mill rate has increased it is still lower than Lasalle or Windsor.

Finally, council has to work together and collectively agree on debentures. According to the act, a municipality can only issue a debenture for long term borrowing to provide financing for capital work.

Scott Kendell Answers Dr. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions

Dr. C. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions To The Candidates were posted on September 18, 2014, although no answers would be published until after the Chamber of Commerce candidate event to avoid any possibility of some candidates not doing their independent research.

Although the Chamber of Commerce may not have used them, two councillor candidates answered the questions; Scott Kendell’s answers are below and Glenn Swinton’s are in a separate post.

Question: What is “Transparency” in municipal financial management terms?
Question: What is “Accountability”?
Question: What is a “Budget”?
Question: What is the Municipal Assessment “Mill Rate”? What is Amherstburg’s current residential Mill Rate? Supplemental Question: What is the Name of the Agency Responsible for municipal property assessments?
Question: What is Council’s role in respect to Infrastructure Municipal Debenture funding?

Transparency In order to maintain trust to the public it is important that procedures and policies are clearly set out and accessible to everyone, and that the day to day operations are transparent.

Accountability Policies that are followed in regards to sale of lands, goods and services provided to the municipality. When how and where Information is provided upfront to the public.

Operating budgets are for municipal expenses salary’s, utilities maintenance of buildings etc. Capital budgets provide for infrastructure new and in future new facilities equipment repair construction etc.  and its financing.

Municipal mill rate is the tax rate at one thousands of currency unit. Property tax, The amount of tax per dollar of accessed value of said property. Amherstburg’s current residential mill rate is Municipal 0.00881967,County 0.00447203 Education 0.00203000   The agency’s name is MPAC

Councils role is to represent the public and develop and implement policies as required to maintain financial integrity of the municipalities for long term commitments or projects of value to same.

Joshua Rene Thanks Residents For Their Questions

I would like to thank each and every resident for asking us candidates the hard questions. I have never been more proud to call Amherstburg home! Such a display of civic pride and concern proves that Amherstburg is ready for change, and change is what we’ll give them!

Thank you again,

Joshua Rene

Joshua Rene Answers Questions 40

40.  I have never personally nor have I ever worked for a company that has declared bankruptcy. I don’t believe that a candidate should be denied the chance to run based on this. I will however say that this information should be shared in good faith.

All answers to date are also on the candidate answers page.

Pauline Gemmell Answers Question 40

Question 40:
I have never  been personally bankrupt or been in a position of authority of a business that has been declared bankrupt. I think it’s up to the voters to determine if bankruptcy precludes running for office and that will be reflected on election day.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Aldo DiCarlo Only Mayoral Candidate To Answer Dr. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions

Dr. Lloyd Brown-John prepared a series of Questions for the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce related to Financial issues. There were two sets of questions; one for prospective Council members and more complex questions for Deputy and Mayor candidates.

The questions were posted here and sent to the candidates on September 19; although the Chamber of Commerce may not have used them, of the four Mayoral Candidates, Aldo DiCarlo is the only one who answered them: Dr. C. Lloyd Brown-John’s Questions To The Candidates – Aldo DiCarlo Answers.

Aldo DiCarlo Answers Question 40

Question 40:
I have never been personally declared bankrupt, nor have I been in a position of authority of a business that has declared bankruptcy.

Personally, I do not feel a bankruptcy declaration should preclude candidates from running for municipal office, on its own.  A candidate’s attribute’s should be looked at as a whole.  Although a candidate may have financial management issues, they may excel in other attributes that would help, especially as only one member of a council.  The most effective council is one that has a balance of different talents.  Not every person has to have every qualification, as long as on a whole, the council can deal with everything.

All answers to date are on the Candidate Answers page.

Roxanne Qessem Answers Question 33 – Why Not Answer Questions

Question 33:
I would like to sincerely apologize for not participating until now. Due to my work for the Federal Public Service I was unable to partake in any campaign activities until formal permission was granted. In the next few days I will answer all questions on this site. Although late in the game my reasons for seeking office are sincere.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Roxanne Qessem Answers Question 40

For the first time, Roxanne Qessem answers a question from the burg watch readers:

Question 40:
I myself have never been personally declared bankrupt nor have I owned or worked for a business that has been declared bankrupt. There are many reasons why a person may declare bankruptcy. It is not always the case of frivolous spending and poor money management there are many cases have to utilize this option due to health, loss of employment, family tragedy etc . It is for those reason that I will not cast stones and say that they should preclude candidates from running for municipal office. I do believe however that one should be precluded from running for municipal office in cases of fraud and/or mismanagement of company or public funds.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Scott Shuttleworth Answers Question 40

Question 40:
No, I have never declared bankruptcy, either personally or with M&M Meatshop, or any other business I’ve been involved with.  However, I do wonder if a candidate has had to declare bankruptcy in the past more than once, whether they would be the best candidate to deal with municipal affairs.   I personally consider bankruptcy to be a final and last resort, after exploring all other avenues first.  There are quite a few job positions that require that you do not have bankruptcy in your past to be employed there, and I feel that a municipal position should be no different.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Scott Kendell Answers Question 40

Question 40:
#1No  #2  Yes  Better yet let see credit scores I want somebody with common sense, and a good financial background to handle my money. If there financial house is not in order the municipalities  financial well being may be compromised.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.