CANDIDATE Q&A – Patricia Simone

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

Our town has lots to offer everyone. Our brand is a tool that we can use to attract investors, retirees and families. We know Amherstburg is a great place to invest. We know Amherstburg is a great place to live, with excellent quality of life. We know Amherstburg is a great place to raise children. Rather than spending money on “re-branding” we should be using that money to tell people about ourselves and market the town to the world. Soon the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be constructed. That is one of the huge positives we should be promoting. What are we doing about that?

 

 

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?

Your question seems to assume that taxes must increase to pay for infrastructure. If council focuses on real infrastructure needs, then the money is there to do infrastructure. The Town has been collecting an infrastructure levy since 2015. The bridge on 2nd Concession is still incomplete even though it was in the 2017 budget and the 2018 budget. Payroll expenses increased $2 million over the last three or four years. To me, that shows a lack of focus. Getting things done requires focus and cooperation. My track record with many organizations speaks for itself. Elect me to get things done.

 

 

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?

Transparency: We need live streaming of council meetings for those who cannot attend at town hall. This is relatively inexpensive to do; I would like to publish an annual financial report to the taxpayers which mirrors our report to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Accountability: I support reinstating consultation committees. They should not have been cancelled in the first place; I will serve the community in a professional, efficient, and respectful manner at all times; the taxpayers’ agenda will govern my decisions and I will stand up for the taxpayer at town hall; I will answer questions that citizens have and when I don’t know the answer I will find out for you; I will keep myself well-informed about the legal and financial consequences of major decisions and make decisions in the best interest of the community; I will represent you.

 

 

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

Amherstburg is a great place to invest. As part of my platform, which can be viewed at simone4aburg.ca, I highlight the need to re-establish the Economic Development Committee. There were several well-informed and motivated members on that committee and we need to bring it back. There are many investors who already know about Amherstburg and have already invested in Amherstburg. The committee needs to sit down with them and work out detailed agreements that encourage them to invest more in Amherstburg. The people are there. The talents are there. We need to allow them to work out the detailed agreements that will make things happen.

 

 

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?

There are good examples of regional cooperation. For example, the ambulance service is run by Essex County Council and serves the whole region. The same is true of the Library Board. However, I am very doubtful that giving away our police service to the City of Windsor is going to be a good thing. I attended the meetings and spoke against it. Bigger is not always better. In the future, we should be very wary of losing control over our own services. Any future attempt to establish “regional” type services should be subject to a rigorous consultation process with the taxpayers. And any committee established to deal with any such “regional” services must absolutely include the most qualified individuals from our community. The process that caused us to lose control over our police force is an example of how I will not do things.

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