election

Discretionary spending, finding efficiencies among key issues for Moore

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The vote to contract out policing in Amherstburg to the Windsor Police Service was the big factor for Gregory Moore and his decision to run for town council.

Moore is seeking the position of councillor and said the Feb. 26 policing vote made by the current council is what caused him to decide to run. Moore said he is in opposition to the switch.

“That was the last thing that pushed me over the edge was the farming out of Amherstburg police,” said Moore. “I think the police are a big part of our community. The police and our community go hand-in-hand.”

Moore said that he has watched the decisions council has made the last few years and decided he wants to try and get on council himself.

“I guess I can’t complain if I’m not willing to do something,” he said.

The town’s debt is still large, said Moore, and that a closer look has to be had on the town’s discretionary spending.

“I think that’s a real issue that needs to be looked at,” said Moore.

Gregory Moore is running for the
position of councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election.

Moore suggested the possibility of the town retaining ownership of the Libro Centre but having a private company manage it in order to reduce the financial liability that operating an arena carries. He said that Duffy’s is synonymous with Amherstburg but wonders if the town was right in purchasing Belle Vue and the former St. Bernard School site when they did.

“If you look at the situation, we can’t afford Belle Vue,” he believed. “We can’t afford St. Bernard School. We really can’t afford these as a town right now.”

If it were not for the debt, Moore stated, “It might be a totally different story.”

Moore stated: “I think spending needs to be frozen for council, the mayor and the CAO until further notice.”

Moore believed the town needs to be “creative” in its operations so that no additional pressures are placed on taxpayers. That includes a look at every town department.

“Everything needs to be looked at. Efficiencies need to be created,” said Moore.

Moore feels the town is on the same footing it was four years ago.

“I think it’s a wash,” he said. “I don’t see it being any better or any worse.”

There are certain expenditures that have to be made, with Moore citing rural roads as an example.

“The roads are worse out there,” he said. “These roads need to be fixed. These are needs, not wants.”

“Rising water and sewage rates need to be reined in,” he stated. “These costs really impact middle income families as well as looking for alternative measures to avoid continual property tax increases.

Moore said he would like to see more activities for both youth and seniors, including programming by the town for seniors that could be merged with existing groups.

More room for fishing from the shoreline is needed in town, stated Moore.

“I believe I can bring something completely different to the table,” he said.

Moore works at Chrysler and has lived in Amherstburg for 20 years after growing up in Harrow. He serves on his church’s board in Colchester. He also fought the province’s sexual education curriculum serval years ago.

“My family has a very long history here in Amherstburg,” he added. “We are direct descendants of the Underground Railroad. My great grandfather Albert Wilson was in fact born here on the shores of Amherstburg after his mom made an escape swimming across the Detroit River.”

 

Meloche aiming to move into deputy mayor’s role

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After four years as a councillor, Leo Meloche is seeking a higher office.

Meloche is running for deputy mayor in the Oct. 22 municipal election, believing he has helped the town make progress over the past four years.

“I worked hard over the last four years to improve the town’s situation and I think we made some good inroads compared to where we were four years ago,” said Meloche, noting his campaign slogan is “Keeping the Momentum.”

Meloche said he wants to take on the deputy mayor’s position as he would like to contribute further to Amherstburg’s future, one that will include a new public high school and possibly a hotel.

“There are so many positive things coming out,” said Meloche. “It’s an exciting time to run for council given the success we’ve had the last four years.”

Continuing the growth of Amherstburg is a goal for Meloche, with small businesses being a key to that growth. Small businesses help bring jobs but also expand the tax base and “creates a domino effect in enabling Amherstburg to reach its potential,” he said.

“It’s the old saying ‘success breeds success’ and we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

Other local issues include building a community that looks after its aging population and continuing to carefully watch the town’s finances. Regarding the latter, Meloche said although progress has been made, “you never overextend yourself.”

Leo Meloche, a current town councillor, is aiming to be Amherstburg’s next deputy mayor.

Meloche believes he has the leadership skills and decision-making ability to be deputy mayor and if the voters agree, he would also join Essex County council. Meloche believes the county is run “very well” and that money is regularly budgeted for new roads and the new mega-hospital. However, in his day job of owning his own accounting and consulting business, Meloche works with the affordable housing industry including as the executive administrator with Leamington Lodge. That is a segment of the population that needs to be looked after, he believes.

Being on town council the last four years gives Meloche the experience he believes will help going forward. His experience as a councillor is something he thinks lends him insight as to what the town needs going forward.

One of the more controversial issues of the past four years was the policing issue, with Meloche being one of the three votes that got the motion passed and the service switched to Windsor. Policing costs were one of the major issues that he heard four years ago and continued to hear at conferences.

Meloche said Essex had $3.9 million in policing costs in 2018 as compared to Amherstburg’s $5.8 million.

“Yes, we get a higher level of policing but what we need to look at is are we really getting value for the difference,” he said.

Regional policing was discussed as far back as amalgamation and the deal with Windsor allows for a “hybrid formula for policing all the while containing costs.” The wishes of the people were respected, Meloche believes, in that the same officers, cars and police station will still be used while officers will get additional advancement opportunities if they wish.

“Overall, we thought it’s a good deal for Amherstburg as a whole,” he said, noting there are $14 million in potential savings over the next 20 years.

Getting out on the campaign trail is something Meloche said he is eager to do.

“I’m looking forward to campaigning and I hope to get another four years of serving the community,” he said.

Town to stick with traditional method of voting for the 2018 municipal election

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Residents can expect to go back to the polls next year for the municipal election rather than mailing it in, phoning it in or going online.

The town of Amherstburg has chosen to stick with the traditional method of voting for next year’s election, scheduled to be held October 22, 2018.

Town council passed a motion to use the traditional method of voting for next year’s election, but rejected an administrative recommendation to allow Internet voting for advance polls.

A report from municipal clerk/returning officer Paula Parker listed advantages being that electors are familiar and comfortable with the traditional method; privacy is ensured during the casting of votes; accuracy in the counting of ballots; election results are prompt, timely and accurate; the ballot is tabulated immediately, notifying the voters of any errors on the ballot, reducing the possibility of rejected ballots; there is a paper trail should a recount be necessary; the municipality maintains care custody and control of the election process including but not restricted to the safeguarding of ballots and the counting thereof and candidates are able to campaign up to the close of polls on election day.

Town hall signWEB

Disadvantages listed to the traditional method were that it limits the flexibility of the voter as they cannot vote anytime and are provided parameters, there may be difficulty in finding accessible voting locations in that previously used voting locations present barriers which negatively affect the ability of electors to access the facility; the weather may have a negative effect on voter turnout; the town may be deemed by some as “old school and non-progressive” and it is more labour intensive and thus increases workload and staffing.

“No one method has proven to be superior to another with respect to voter turnout. Those wishing to vote will do so despite the method chosen. Those that do not wish to vote will not, no matter the issues or the candidates running for office,” Parker stated in her report. “The method of voting will have no effect on those individuals who choose not to vote. It is up to the council of the municipality to choose the method which in its opinion best suits the needs of the electors.”

Parker added: “The statistical data for Amherstburg however, shows that in the 2010 election, Amherstburg used vote by mail as its alternative voting method and received a 67 per cent voter turnout using this method. In the 2014 election, Amherstburg used the traditional method of voting with optical scanning tabulators and received a 47 per cent voter turnout.”

Parker pointed out that the vote by mail method used in 2010 saw “numerous complaints” from both the public and the candidates over the validity of some of the ballots cast, delays in reporting the results and value for dollars spent on the election.

While Amherstburg will use traditional polls with electronic tabulators in 2018, Essex, Windsor and Chatham-Kent also propose similar methods. Kingsville, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington and Tecumseh propose Internet and telephone voting.

“The 2014 municipal election was run as traditional method with optical scan vote

tabulators. In 2014, the cost to run the election was $93,902.80. In preparation of the upcoming 2018 election, the approved 2017, 2016 and 2015 budgets currently incorporate additional funding to adequately manage the considerations identified by the 2014 election,” Parker’s report states. “The election reserve will have $120,000 set aside for the 2018 election to cover cost by election time, should the current budgeting process be followed in 2018. To add internet voting as an additional option for electors in the 2018 election, additional funds of $112,500 will be required in the election reserve budget for 2018.”

As the RTT reported in February, there will be a reduction of the nomination period for next year’s election. Candidates used to be able to file from the first business day in January to the second Friday of September, but new legislation sees the 2018 nomination period lasting from May 1-July 27, 2018. Another change is that candidates now have to be endorsed by 25 people before they can officially get on the ballot.

Parker said that now that the decision has been made on how the electorate will vote in 2018, planning will now commence for the election.

Alderson to carry the banner for Green Party in Essex

 

 

Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party's candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson is the Green Party’s candidate in the Oct. 19 federal election.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Green Party has its candidate for the Essex riding for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Jennifer Alderson will run for the Greens and believes she offers an alternative to the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats. She said the Green Party has always made protection of the environment, “true democracy,” and the prosperity of Canadians its top priorities.

“Now, more than ever, we need a government that will work to restore and protect the quality of our land, air and water, all while creating sustainable jobs,” said Alderson. “I care deeply about Essex County and will work tirelessly to ensure the voices of my constituents are heard. I have always voted Green and I believe those of the Essex riding deserve an alternative to the three major parties.”

Describing herself as “a dedicated and hardworking wife, mother, post office employee and volunteer,” Alderson said she established the Belle River Farmers’ Market in 2014 as a venue for local food and wine.

“Throughout the summer and fall, my husband and I spend our Sundays managing the market as volunteers,” she said. “I also enjoy working to better the community and plan local events as a member of Town of Lakeshore committees. As an advocate for the community, I understand firsthand the issues and struggles of middle class families and will stand up for them as MP.”

The Green Party candidate said leader Elizabeth May just announced, if elected, the Greens will offer paid tuition for Canadians. Alderson stated this would allow “so many deserving individuals” to pursue post-secondary education.

“Like many Canadians, I am still paying for my student loans, so I would certainly love to see young people start out their adult lives without the burden of unnecessary debt,” she said.

Eliminating poverty and homelessness by developing affordable and efficient housing and enacting a guaranteed livable income are also important to the Green Party, she added.
“Offering Canadians comprehensive national medical coverage is another key plank of the Greens,” said Alderson. “Allowing Canadians access to treatment and medication is vital for our nation’s health.”

Alderson pledged that, if elected, she would work with the Green Party to create more clean and sustainable jobs for the area and focus on employment in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, health care, carbon neutral manufacturing, clean transportation and tourism.

“Preservation of our unique regional ecosystem will be the driving force behind all decisions made as a representative for the area,” she said. “I offer the people of Essex my commitment, determination, integrity and loyalty.”

Working with the other parties is another key for the Greens, said Alderson.

“The Green Party vows to collaborate with the other parties to work for Canadians without the power struggle that currently plagues parliament,” said Alderson. “The Green Party is the only party with a policy of no whipped votes. Allowing MPs to vote for their constituents means as a Green MP, I would be able to ensure the interests of Essex residents are met, first and foremost. Without campaign funding and the media attention enjoyed by the major parties, I know I will have to work even harder to spread the Green message, a challenge I welcome.”

Alderson stated that “building the weak and unstable economy of the area is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing Essex County.

“The Green Party will work to support local farmers, assist small businesses, boost tourism, and bring in clean and sustainable industries to the region. Air and water quality are also key issues the Green Party will address on a regional and national level.”

According to Alderson, corporations “must be held financially accountable for polluting our Great Lakes and the air we breathe.” Companies that respect the environment “must be supported and encouraged,” she added.

“We cannot deny that ecology and the economy are interconnected in our modern world,” said Alderson.

The Green Party candidate said many voters agree it is time for a completely new approach to Canadian government and believes her party offers a platform that stands out from the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP “with its innovative, yet common sense approach.” The response thus far has been positive from voters with Alderson stating she hopes to reach out to as many residents as possible prior to election day.

Other candidates in Essex include Conservative incumbent Jeff Watson, Liberal Audrey Festeryga, Tracey Ramsey of the NDP and Enver Villamizar of the Marxist-Leninist Party.