Former councillor John Menna aims for return as deputy mayor

 

John Menna, who was a councillor from 1992-94, has filed to run for deputy mayor in the Oct. 27 election.

John Menna, who was a councillor from 1992-94, has filed to run for deputy mayor in the Oct. 27 election.

By Ron Giofu

 

With the aim that the new council has more openness and transparency, a former council member hopes to return and help provide that.

John Menna, who served as a councillor from 1992-94, is the first person to file to run for deputy mayor. Menna also served on the former public utilities commission in Amherstburg.

“I have a little past history,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in the community and government.”

Menna is seeking to help shore up the town’s financial situation and wants to see clear, accurate information on the matter, including the debt. He said he has seen a number of figures, the latest of which pegs the debt at $56 million, and wants a firm number from the town.

“I don’t think they’ve been completely open and honest with us,” he believed. “They don’t lie. They just don’t tell the whole truth. The reason I’m running is because I don’t think they’ve done enough to eliminate the deficit.”

Menna believes there have been a series of unwise financial moves and believes a more thorough financial review should have come sooner and done internally as to where the town’s money went and why the current financial situation occurred to begin with. He said previous administration should have been brought before council to explain what was going on before it got to the current stage. Using examples of depleted reserves, he wants to know when it happened and who was responsible.

“Don’t the people of Amherstburg deserve to know?” he asked.

The town’s overall budget carried an overall increase of 3.85 per cent with the municipal portion being seven per cent. Menna believed further cost cutting could have been done.

“They cut some costs but I think they had to look at every department to see where you can reduce,” he said.

Citing a zero per cent tax increase for six consecutive years in Windsor, Menna believes that is the direction Amherstburg should be looking as the town needs to stop borrowing and pay down costs.

“I think (Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis) is a prime example of who we should be looking at,” said Menna.

Menna added there should be fewer in-camera meetings and said controlling costs will be a staple of what people could expect from him if elected as deputy mayor.

“I’m going to be open and honest. I’m going to try and keep taxes as low as possible, as hard as that will be because we are in such a financial mess,” he said. “You can’t spend more than you  make and that’s what they are doing.”

Menna said he doesn’t believe anyone on council or administration put the town in a financial bind intentionally but the town still has to get its house in order and control costs.

“I want to try and do something. That’s why I’m getting involved,” said Menna. “I just don’t think we are going in the right direction.

Menna believes the town can get out of its financial situation but would like to see a new slate of people on council after the Oct. 27 election. He also believes town council needs to do a better job of working collaboratively.

“They’ve got to work together,” said Menna.

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