LAST WORDS FOR RUSSELL TOWNSHIP MAYORAL CANDIDATES

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Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 22 is Mu­ni­ci­pal Elec­tion Day in On­ta­rio. The three mayoral candidates for Russell Township were as­ked by EAP to re­spond to se­ve­ral ques­tions for the be­ne­fit of vo­ters.

From your pers­pec­tive, what are the two grea­test chal­lenges fa­cing your mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty? If you are elec­ted mayor, what steps do you in­tend to take to ad­dress them?

Shawn McNal­ly: One of the grea­test chal­lenges fa­cing our mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty is the lag­ging com­mer­cial tax base. This is nee­ded to have the ame­ni­ties we want, like a pool, new ice pads, safe roads, and a pro­per li­bra­ry a Bu­si­ness Ad­vi­so­ry Com­mit­tee to help us at­tract, keep and grow lo­cal bu­si­ness. fair­ness for all. This will al­low us to en­joy a thri­ving lo­cal eco­no­my and the fa­ci­li­ties and ame­ni­ties that should be part of a pros­pe­rous com­mu­ni­ty.

Ano­ther chal­lenge is get­ting a clear vi­sion need to ma­nage traf­fic and where the growth to fol­low it. The Vil­lage of Russell re­cent­ly ex­pan­ded the vil­lage core to be mul­ti-unit and com­mer­cial, now we are paying consul­tants to look at a he­ri­tage dis­trict. There seems to be no vi­sion or plan in place of what we want the township to look like in years to come.

Pierre Le­roux: Our ra­pid growth and how growth over the last four years. Being ran­ked third best place to live in Ca­na­da has put us in the spot­light. Over the last four years, we have com­ple­ted a new of­fi­cial plan and zo­ning by­law, nu­me­rous mas­ter plans and

stu­dies in or­der to be pre­pa­red. Ho­we­ver, things can change ra­pid­ly and we need to on the suc­cess of the past years of being proac­tive not reac­tive.

Charles Arm­strong: The grea­test chal­lenge is the di­cho­to­my of vi­sions of those who be­lieve that the Township of Russell should be a small agri­cul­tu­ral/ru­ral com­mu­ni­ty and those who see an ur­ban com­mu­ni­ty with the ame­ni­ties of a large mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty. It is ne­ces­sa­ry to de­mons­trate that, being wi­thin com­mu­ting dis­tance to Ot­ta­wa, the township’s long-term out­look is growth in po­pu­la­tion and re­si­dences and that the agri­cul­tu­ral/ru­ral na­ture will slow­ly di­sap­pear from the view of the ma­jo­ri­ty of re­si­dents. An ur­ban/re­si­den­tial cha­rac­ter will be­come pre­do­mi­nant. Lo­cal go­vern­ment can­not change this but it must be ex­plai­ned to those who de­sire a ru­ral/agri­cul­tu­ral com­mu­ni­ty so it will be ac­cep­ted, even if not wel­co­med. - - tion felt in Li­moges and Ma­rion­ville. Mayor, Coun­cil, and Township ad­mi­nis­tra­tion must work on com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the re­si­dents of the vil­lages and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty groups to show that this is one township and the lo­cal go­vern­ment re­pre­sents and pro­vides for all ci­ti­zens. Avoi­ding tax in­creases while im­pro­ving in­fra­struc­ture are per­re­nial themes of any in this re­gard? Shawn McNal­ly: This is exact­ly my point in­crease our com­mer­cial tax base to pay for the in­fra­struc­ture and ame­ni­ties so the bur­den does not have to be on the re­si­dents. Pierre Le­roux over the past four years in in­fra­struc­ture and pro­per plan­ning. These two wor­king in conjunc­tion has led to over 50 mil­lion dol­lars of new com­mer­cial/in­dus­trial taxa­tion as­sess­ment va­lue and a net gain of over 240 lo­cal jobs. These types of in­vest­ments are what ge­ne­rate re­ve­nues and help mi­ti­gate tax in­creases. Over the last four years, the ave­rage rate in­crease has been 1.5 per cent un­der the rate of in­fla­tion.

Charles Arm­strong: As the ur­ban/re­si­den­tial cha­rac­ter of the township be­comes pre­do­mi­nant there are more de­mands for ur­ban ame­ni­ties. Ma­ny re­si­dents I have spo­ken to want both Ot­ta­wa-style re­crea­tion fa­ci­li­ties, and the lo­wer taxes of a ru­ral/ agri­cul­tu­ral com­mu­ni­ty.

I know that the cost of ac­qui­ring a fa­ci­li­ty is small in com­pa­ri­son to the long term cost of its ope­ra­tion. An in­door pool for example, may cost in the $8 mil­lion range to build but re­quire a large tax in­crease to ope­rate. This is a com­mu­ni­ca­tions chal­lenge that must be ad­dres­sed. po­pu­la­tion and the ur­ban/re­si­den­tial cha­rac­ter of the township grows, the eco­no­my is still lar­ge­ly agri­cul­tu­ral. This places a hi­gher bur­den on the re­si­den­tial tax base. So we must do all we can to in­crease the com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial tax base.

The so­lu­tion for now is a go slow apo­ver a lon­ger per­iod of time, with the in­crease in po­pu­la­tion, and ra­te­payers, sprea­ding out the costs of both ac­qui­si­tion and ope­ra­tion. Ra­te­payers must al­so be in­for­med of the long-term conse­quences of ur­ban ame­ni­ties on their tax bills when they ask for them.

—ar­chives

Les trois can­di­dats à la mai­rie du can­ton de Russell, Pierre Le­roux (à gauche, Shawn McNal­ly, et Charles Arm­strong ont pris le temps de ré­pondre à des ques­tions sur ce qu’ils consi­dèrent comme les prin­ci­paux dé­fis pour le can­ton de Russell et sur la fa­çon d’amé­lio­rer les ser­vices et l’in­fra­struc­ture sans aug­men­ter consi­dé­ra­ble­ment les taxes.

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