1) Why did you want to run for city council?
I decided to run for council to serve my community. I feel that my experience in finance, governance, policy planning and management has given me the skills necessary to be a successful councillor. My values and work ethics have prepared me to give back to this wonderful community. My main agenda is to put the citizens of this ward first. Their voices need to be heard, they need to be kept informed and be brought forward to help make the decisions that will be affecting them and their families for generations to come.
2) What do you think of the performance of the last council?
The last council passed a 3.66 per cent tax increase for 2010 which is higher than our surrounding communities. This is unacceptable. They have fractured their relationship with the county at the taxpayer’s expense. Our debt at the end of 2009 was $95 million and they incurred $26 million in new debts in 2009. If the interest rates increase this city could have some serious monetary issues.
3) Please describe your position/ideas on the following issues:
This council keeps saying they have had the lowest tax increases since the “Quarrie Days” yet they neglect to mention their increases are higher than our surrounding communities. I would like to see lower tax increases. I firmly believe that cutting services is not the answer, cutting expenses and increasing efficiency is what needs to be done.
Did you know that our budget for 2009 was created with a surplus of $33 million and in actuality we only received a surplus of $16 million? That is very clear that this council cannot stay within a budget. Did you also know that only two interim budget variance reports for April and July have made it to the Audit Committee? I strongly feel that this is not accountability and transparency. As stakeholders of this community, we should know how our money is being spent monthly. I know if elected this issue will definitely be brought forward.
Transit needs to be affordable to all the citizens of this community. We need to revisit the pricing structure and increase transit’s efficiencies. The city wants to reduce the use of cars, yet they keep increasing the fares.
We need to ensure that all development is done economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable. The W.C. Woods site should help fill our needs for the provinces mandated “Places to Grow” but we need to weigh in the concerns of the citizens that live in that area.
e) Arts & Culture
I am a big supporter of Arts & Culture. I am an artist myself and my son is a musician and his band has utilized the facilities downtown for performances. Personally, I would love to see the Italian Festival become as big a landmark as Kitcheners Oktoberfest. Now that would help our tourism problems also. Guelph is a culturally diverse community and we need to embrace that and build on it.
4) Is there another issue that you’d specifically like to highlight/focus on?
I would like to see the East End of Ward 1 become complete in its development. The citizens are lacking retail/commercial amenities; there also is serious traffic and parking issues that need to be dealt with.
5) What’s your message for voters?
I am passionate about this great city. I have lived in Ward 1 for 41 years. I have leadership experience, a strong voice to bring issues forward to council. I hold fiscal responsibility, accountability and a strong work ethic in the highest regard. I give back to the community with my volunteering with the under privileged and I have great listening skills. I am a taxpayer and just like you would like to see a change. So please contact me at 519-823-0399 or linda_murphy[at]rogers[dot]com or visit my website www.lindamurphyward1guelph.com for more info. And remember folks; please vote it truly does matter!!!!