|Dan Gibson (L) at the Council Swearing in, Dec. 2014|
Last month, it occurred to Scotty Hertz and myself that maybe our radio show on CFRU can be used for more than saying our opinions about current events... Seriously though, we always knew that, but we decided that we should set ourselves the goal of inviting all 12 of Guelph's city councillors on the show for a friendly conversation, and because our imagination is so poor, we decided to start with Ward 1.
So last week, Dan Gibson came into CFRU as the first of what we're hoping will be 12 such interviews, which is not only about us asking the councillors questions, but inviting listeners to ask questions too. In our conversation with Cllr. Gibson we cover as wide a range of topics possible in about 25 minutes, from development to unemployment to construction to city services. Scotty also managed to squeeze a plug for his pet cause at the end. On top of that, there was one listener question we didn't get to during the interview, so I asked Gibson if he wouldn't mind providing an answer via email, and he was happy to oblige.
So without further adieu, listen to this new edition of Open Sources Guelph Beat below:
As for that question we were never able to get on air, it comes from Marg in Guelph:
I'm hoping to get an opportunity to listen to Thursday's show with Dan Gibson, and have a question for him:
I believe he supports the GEERS program but has some concerns about costs and how it's implemented. I know it will very likely be implemented in Guelph, and agree that it's a great idea, but also have concerns. Please ask Dan if he's aware of a GEERS program that's in place, and doesn't put a burden onto those who cannot afford to benefit from it but must help to subsidize it?
And here is Councillor Gibson's response:
This is a great question and one I have responded to a number of times. I am passionate about making sure this program has a universal benefit to the community.
The GEERS program is an exciting and ambitious endeavor that I am in support of if implemented correctly. To protect the universal benefit to all in Guelph however, Council needs to ensure the administrative burdens of the program are in line with realistic revenue projections. In short, it must be revenue neutral or revenue positive for this city.
My reason for this position is fairly straight forward. If we build a program that requires annual support from property taxes, we risk creating a scenario where those who can afford the retrofit loan get to A) upgrade their homes and B) reduce their energy costs, while those who cannot afford the loan are still forced to help pay for those upgrades through their taxes. I believe the original model (as presented to council) would create this scenario (i.e. the program would require annual support from tax revenues). I have very clearly identified these concerns to staff (despite my support of the overall concept) and trust the business model will be more universally beneficial when it returns to committee in 2016.
You can download more podcasts off the Guelph Politicast channel on Podbean, including episodes of the Guelph Politicast, and full episodes of Open Sources Guelph