CANDIDATE Q&A – Aldo DiCarlo

 

The town is going through a re-branding process. How would you define what Amherstburg is and how it should be promoted?

Currently, Amherstburg is a quaint town with over two centuries of history. It is one of the safest places to live in Canada, and one of the most southern places to live in Canada, making it an ideal place to reside and visit. The town is host to many festivals and events. A new high school will begin construction very soon. We are the first town in all of Canada to have a Miracle League baseball facility. We also have a sledge hockey rink and a number of other accessible recreation facilities, making us a truly inclusive community. Our greenway trails connect to the rest of the region to expand our active transportation network. Our waterfront parks provide a stunning view of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. We boast of multiple National Historic Sites for a small town. We are building a community hub that will centralize services and activities for everyone, from youth to seniors.

Aldo DiCarlo is running for mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

 

Taxes and spending will always be election issues. What is the best way to spend money on roads and infrastructure while, at the same time, keeping taxes at a reasonable level?

The best way to address infrastructure costs is through a long term planned approach that maintains, repairs and replaces it all based on a pay-as-you-go model, and building adequate capital reserves. This is an issue across the province.

Specific to the Town of Amherstburg, we have decades of neglect to catch up on, current issues to address, and all while trying to build reserves for the future. In the short term, this can be offset through vigilant oversight of operations, cost containment and savings, where possible.

Simply cutting for the sake of short term savings, or creating zero tax increases today, will only defer the costs to future generations while reducing levels of service today. While we apply for available government grants, we shouldn’t rely on them, as was done in the past. This term, we’ve paid for roads almost entirely with cash. Although levies and tax increases are not wanted, they are needed in order to build for the future. A balanced approach of investing, saving and spending for the long term will keep the Town moving forward in a positive direction.

 

 

 

 

“Transparency” and “accountability” are words often heard during election campaigns. What specific measures would you undertake to ensure town council lives up to those words?

Accountability and transparency go hand in hand, in my opinion. Some only see accountability in being re-elected, but accountability is being open and accessible to the residents who have elected you for the entire term. Being accountable means answering concerns from residents, especially as it relates to decisions of council. Since no decision of council will ever be right to everyone, accountability means having to justify the reasons for the decisions. I believe I have already acted in this regard over this term of council. I plan to remain accessible to the residents in order to justify my actions as the head of council, should I get re-elected.

Transparency is acting with no hidden agendas and making decisions based on available information. Sometimes the information available to the council members cannot be legally shared with residents, but there should always be consideration to provide as much information to the public as legally possible. I believe I have acted in good faith during this entire term of council and plan to continue sharing as much information as legally possible while making decisions and leading with no hidden agendas.

 

 

 

How would you encourage economic development for the Town of Amherstburg over the next four years (and beyond)?

Economic development is arguably one of the more important areas that bring new investments into the town, and maintain the investments made long ago.

Although I wasn’t opposed to an economic development advisory committee, I have witnessed that a part time advisory committee just cannot replace a full-time development officer. Most municipalities have full-time economic development officers and are moving past us in attracting new investments. In many cases they have no more to offer than we do as a municipality. Therefore, I believe members of council should make the tough decision of reinstating this position, and/or the committee. As a member of council, I believe the mayor’s role goes further. As mayor, outside of council, I have been involved in many meetings related to economic development and attracting new businesses. I have witnessed first-hand the need for support in this area, as the CAO has other responsibilities as well.

The atmosphere in the town is much more positive than it was four years ago, so now is a good time to capitalize on attracting new investments.

 

 

 

The policing issue is still top-of-mind for some of the electorate. Is providing services on a regional level a good way to save money, a detriment to the town and its identity or would you view it on a case-by-case basis?

I respect those opinions and share their concerns that a switch to contracting police services not affect the level of service we’ve enjoyed for the last couple decades since amalgamation, which was the last time the service was dissolved to be rebuilt. The town already shares services on a regional level for almost every service we deliver. Past councils made decisions to share services, from waste collection to EMS and everything in between, for the betterment of all communities. They have proven to provide an equivalent service for less tax money. Whether or not there is any detriment to shared policing services remains to be seen, thus the extensive amount of time and review to create a contract that would protect the Town should the need to revert back come up.

I don’t believe that the town’s identity is based solely on the police service. I believe a town’s identity is formulated through its history and its residents, among other things, not solely the delivery of its services. Outside of that, it would have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

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