Patricia Simone

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.

Simone believes work and volunteer experience could help her on council

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Patricia (Pat) Simone believes her experience in her professional life and her volunteer life will assist her if elected as a councillor Oct. 22.

Simone has filed to run for town council and wants to contribute further to her home community, a community she has called home for almost 30 years.

“I just want to give back to the community that has given so much to me,” she said. “I want to be their voice on council.”

Simone is a graduate of Stella Maris Elementary School and St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School and attended Fanshawe College where she received her law clerk diploma before returning to Amherstburg to study at the University of Windsor where she graduated with a B.A. Honours Political Science and Communications Studies. She also attended George Washington University where she received a Program of Applied Politics Certificate.
Simone currently works at the University of Windsor Cross-Border Institute as a business development research coordinator.

“I know from their perspective what they are looking for,” she said, of the business community as she works with small and medium sized enterprises. She believes she understands what businesses need and what would bring them to Amherstburg to stay.

Patricia (Pat) Simone is seeking a councillor’s position in the Oct. 22
municipal election.

Simone has volunteered with the Essex County International Women’s Day committee, the Council of Women for Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor (WEST), the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival and the Verdi Club. She is also currently a member of the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

Having “positive conversations” about the community is one of Simone’s objectives as she believes that will help bring people together towards common goals. Encouraging and facilitating positive conversations would produce measurable results, she believes.

“We have a great town but I think there are always improvements that can be made to make Amherstburg better,” said Simone. “I know that working together, Amherstburg can thrive and flourish.”

Simone said her platform will come out soon and she said she is looking forward to learning what the residents want and need. She believes she is known for her hard work and dedication to public causes.

“I’m very excited to start going door-to-door and meeting the people in the Town of Amherstburg, listening to what they have to say and hearing what they need,” she said, adding she looks forward to visiting with as many residents as she can to hear their ideas and concerns for what can Amherstburg better.

If elected, Simone said she wants to make informed decisions with those decisions being “based on what the taxpayers want.”

Simone spoke at the June 26 OCPC public hearings, acknowledging her views don’t reflect whatever committees she sits on. Her concerns raised that night to the OCPC included the ongoing personnel complaints that agency is investigating about Windsor police, whether the OPP could also provide an adequate and effective force, the Windsor police’s business plan. Simone said last week she can’t go into any specifics due to her role on the APSB and JPAC committee but she called the Amherstburg Police Service “great,” adding “I think we should stay with the force we already have.”

Simone said she can bring a “fresh perspective” to town council, in part due to her professional and volunteer background, and she added that she demonstrated her ability to work as a member of a team by listening to other people’s perspectives. Other goals, if elected, would be to show up to meetings and ensuring residents have all the information they need before council makes decisions.

 

“Press for Progress” brunch to celebrate International Women’s Day

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Plans are well underway to celebrate International Women’s Day in Essex County.

A committee consisting of people from Amherstburg and LaSalle are in the planning stages for the “Press for Progress” brunch that will be held March 4 at Ambassador Golf Club in LaSalle. The event is being presented by the Essex County International Women’s Day Committee and the Belle Vue Conservancy.

“We wanted to have an event to celebrate International Women’s Day that takes place on March 8,” explained event-co chair Patricia Simone. “This years theme is ‘Press for Progress’ and the committee wanted to host an event to get people talking and thinking about the best way to press for progress for women’s issues.”

Simone added that due to positive response, the event has been opened up to people from around Windsor-Essex County.

The master of ceremonies for the brunch will be St. Clair College president Patti France with Laurie Tannous, vice president of government and industry relations for Farrow, being the guest speaker. There will also be panelists that will provide a brief introduction and answers to questions posed by moderator Anthony Leardi.

Panelists include St. Clair College professor and local author Veronique Mandal, Michael Akpata from IBM, Jody Goslin from Oxley Estate Winery and Enwin Utilities CEO Helga Reidel.

“We hope that everyone attends this event to show that pressing for progress is something that everyone should be assisting with. This isn’t just a women issue it’s an everyone issue,” said Simone.

Proceeds from ticket sales and donations will be directed to the Belle Vue Conservancy. Auction and 50/50 draw proceeds will be donated to the LaSalle Food Bank.

“We chose Belle Vue as it was the home of sisters, Margaret and Catherine Reynolds, whose landscape paintings provide an invaluable record of early 19th century life in Upper Canada,” said Simone. “Their works hang in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Windsor Museum, Library and Archives Canada and Fort Malden National Historic Site. We feel it’s important to ensure that this history remains in Amherstburg.”

Tickets are $40 per person. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the brunch and program starts at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available at the River Town Times office at 67 Richmond St. in Amherstburg and the Leardi Law Firm at 23 Sandwich St. S. in Amherstburg.

Tickets can also be acquired by e-mailing Simone at pandp1010@hotmail.com.

Simone co-chairs the organizing committee with Peggy Thompson, with other committee members including Bonnie Deslippe, Stephanie Thomson, Leardi and Akpata as well as advisors Shirley Curson-Prue and Michael Prue from the Belle Vue Conservancy.

Amherstburg police switching dispatch services to Windsor

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service will be dispatched out of Windsor by year’s end with a cost savings also coming as part of a new five-year agreement with the city.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board agreed at its meeting last week that the Windsor Police Service be awarded a five-year contract for dispatching services. Currently, Amherstburg police is dispatched out of LaSalle but that will come to an end at the end of the year when the new contract with Windsor kicks in.

Windsor’s bid came in at $653,000 over the five-year period with LaSalle police’s bid being over $1.48 million over that time frame. Owen Sound police and Strathroy-Caradoc police also submitted bids with those bids being just under $1.48 million and $1.54 million respectively.

“The LaSalle Police Service will continue to provide dispatching services until the Windsor Police Service takes over. We estimate that transition should be completed by mid-December,” said Chief Tim Berthiaume.

The start-up costs with Windsor are estimated at $295,000 for hardware and software needs. Another $50,000 will be allocated for “incidental and/or unexpected expenses” related to the transfer.

“Any incidental or unexpected expenses will be funded from the existing police reserves,” said Berthiaume.

There would have been no start-up costs had Amherstburg police remained with LaSalle police for dispatching services but there would have been costs relating to upgrading equipment, including computers.

Berthiaume said dispatching costs this year are estimated at $323,000 with that being increased to about $340,000 in 2018 had the contract with LaSalle been extended, as that contract included an automatic five per cent increase. Excluding set-up costs, the chief said dispatching services from Windsor are expected to cost $71,000 next year.

Aburg Police Logo Rev-web

“This is the third time in approximately 15 years the Amherstburg police has switched dispatching providers. None of the previous providers were located in Amherstburg. As with other transitions the Windsor Police dispatchers and police personnel will be offered opportunities to ride along with our front line staff,” said Berthiaume.

The chief pointed out that the last time dispatching services were switched was when they went from Leamington to LaSalle in 2010.

The Amherstburg Police Services Board in collaboration with the Chief of Police is committed to the perpetual pursuit of finding efficiencies and costs savings, he said. Berthiaume added that the issue of dispatching was first raised at the board level in early 2016.

“During my examination of each budget line, I brought dispatching to the attention of the Amherstburg Police Services Board,” said Berthiaume. “A committee was struck to put out an RFP for dispatching services.”

The committee that examined the Request for Proposals (RFP’s) included police services board chair Patricia Simone, vice chair Bob Rozankovic and Berthiaume.

“We are very pleased with the cost saving,” said Berthiaume. “We’re always looking for efficiencies. It never stops.”

The motion passed last week accepts Windsor police’s proposal for dispatching services, Berthiaume added, and authorized Simone and Rozankovic to enter into contract talks with them. As for what would happen should council elect to switch to OPP or a regional policing model, that remains unclear.

“The exact details of the contracts are being worked on. As soon as the contract is signed it will be available to the public,” said Berthiaume.

It is anticipated that the public will not notice the change in dispatching service, the chief stated.

The switch from LaSalle police to Windsor police for dispatching services is strictly a matter of dollars and cents, Berthiaume emphasized.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the LaSalle Police Service. The switch from LaSalle to Windsor is about cost savings, not service,” said Berthiaume. “LaSalle is a first-class police service. They are more than just a neighbouring organization. They are a valued partner.

Berthiaume said LaSalle police features Amherstburg’s friends and colleagues and “I am committed to maintaining the valued relationship we have built with them.”