About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Candidate Questionnaire - Steven Petric (Ward 4)

1) Why did you want to run for city council?

This is my third run for city council in Ward 4. My first was 10 years ago at age 19. I believe people want a fresh voice on City Council for Ward 4. They want someone with experience in dealing with people, and the various ideas, opinions and thoughts they have. I have always worked toward compromise and finding great solutions that are reasonable, sensible and productive. I am running to bring a new generation of ideas to the table. 

2) What do you think of the performance of the last council?

The past four years have been a mixed bag of progress and setbacks. Simply put, we keep taking a couple steps forward on some items like protecting the environment and three steps back on others like building a new library. I am frustrated at the current fiscal situation, project delays, and lack of new innovative ideas for projects and revenue as well as the ideological differences that are driving council. 

3) Please describe your position/ideas on the following issues:

a) Taxes
The Taxation balance between residential and commercial is uneven and has been for well over a decade. There is obviously a need to attract more business into the city, however, we must get that "open for business" sign up and clear the red tape that is hampering us currently in attracting a more diverse business base. If we can not be aggressive and have real leadership in attracting new business, and actually implement the various strategic plans like Prosperity 2020, then our current tax balance will continue to be a higher burden on the residential side as it has been for the last decade. 

b) Budget
We all have a Budget. We all review our Budgets every month and always make sure we have enough in the bank to pay the bills. Each of us only go into debt when we absolutely need to or plan too carefully. That said, I will do the same with your tax dollars. I want to make sure revenue is equal to our expenses and that we carefully plan out our debt. Paying that debt back as quickly as possible is also very important. I feel there is a need for monthly Budget reviews so we know where we stand each month. As well, I would advocate the province for new revenue tools and also look at other innovative ways to gain revenue to keep our taxes down and budget balanced. 

c) Transit
Transit is very important to me as I am a daily user of it. We will finally see a huge shift in how we travel within Guelph and the Region over the next couple years. However, the length of time getting to this point has been a frustration, not only to me, but many others. Much of the new Transit Strategy is simply the same things that were said in the mid 1990's. Connecting our transit to Waterloo Region has been talked about for even longer. I feel our current Councillors have failed us on this over the last decade and we need someone in there who has experience with using transit and will and push for real improvements sooner not later. As well, I want to make sure we have the right mix of cars and other modes of transportation within the city. I will advocate for improved bicycle services including introduction of the BIXI system like in Montreal. 

d) Development/Infrastructure
We are an attractive location to place a business but many businesses have said they find Guelph a difficult city to deal with. It’s time to change that. We have to attract more businesses of all sizes into Guelph. This can be done by being more aggressive, clearing all that red tape and implementing the various strategic plans like Prosperity 2020. I feel that by becoming a more open place to do business in, we lessen the burden on taxpayers and will provide much need jobs and revenue to our city.

Everyone knows that much of our infrastructure is aging and is need of repair or replacement. I would continue to advocate for additional monies from the upper governments to assist us. I would also carefully work with council to make the appropriately planned use of monies for the various infrastructure needs of our city. 

e) Arts & Culture
Arts and Culture is close to my heart. Our city has so much potential to be the "place to be" but we lack the leaders to bring us there. I would push for the creation of new festivals and events that will draw people into the city and needed revenue for our local businesses. Working with the community, I would utilize the various tourism strategies our city has, and work hard to implement them.

4) Is there another issue that you’d specifically like to highlight/focus on?

The Community Youth Strategy has gotten lost in the shuffle. Our young people deserve more respect and resources from us. I feel as though Guelph is well behind many others in providing much needed services and places for young people. I would make sure we implement the strategy and push for more youth services within our neighbourhood groups. 

5) What’s your message for voters? 

Politicians tend to forget they are elected to represent all citizens. I will bring positive change to our neighbourhood and city. I will actually listen to the community and always work toward finding a compromise. All my choices will be accurate, sensible and fair. I want to improve the quality of life in Guelph by bringing back integrity, honesty and innovation to City Hall. Visit my website stevenpetric.com for more details.

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