LAST WORDS FOR RUSSELL TOWNSHIP MAYORAL CANDIDATES
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.
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.