Cornwall Ontario — Gerald E. Samson who finished 11th place in the last municipal election, and became a member of City Council when Leslie O Shaughnessy resigned, is seeking re-election in 2014.
Gerald E. Samson sits on the following committees: Cornwall & Area Housing Corporation, Cornwall Community Woodhouse Museum, Municipal Tax Registration, Parking Committee, and the Service Manager Joint Liaison Committee.
Why are you running for re-election?
I am passionate about my hometown. I really enjoy helping the people out.
I am in favour of bringing a University here. A casino in Cornwall that pays taxes could help fund a University. In turn a University can help maintain and grow our population.
I support reducing taxes, and one way to do that is to avoid consultant fees. We have an educated staff that can do the job consultants do. $85,000 in consultant fees is a waste of money for the Recreation Department, when the Recreation Director could have done that work. I served 21 years on the school board, and I am very experienced with the budget process.
What was Councils biggest accomplishment?
Cornwall is on the move! With the new bridge, the realignment is set to bring people down town. However the east end needs to be developed. Montreal Road needs to be developed further, to make it more friendly and business friendly. I am optimistic with the influx of new shopping centres coming in, giving people more variety to shop locally instead of in the US. This creates jobs.
We are going to need to continue developing our industrial park, and service them. Economic Development is doing a fantastic job, and Cornwall Tourism is too.
What was Councils biggest challenge?
Prior to my arrival it was personal issues, which have been ironed out. We had to hire a top investigator. But the biggest challenge is rumours, personal problems, and lawsuits. A great deal of money was spent on that.
We need to treat every employee fairly, making them feel important and a part of the team. We need to listen to experienced City employees, because they are the people who know their jobs. For example if they are telling us we are putting too much salt out on the roads, we should listen on them.
What lessons did you learn during your first stay on council?
It is very political, many areas want different allocations of goods. Municipalities take care of the poorer people, people in need. A Municipality is measured on how it takes care of its needy.
What do you think are going to be the biggest issue(s) in the 2014 election?
We are working on the water tanks issue. Our waterfront is sacred, people have a right to enjoy it. With no more Domtar or Courtaulds, we have an opportunity to revitalize it. Government should not be allowed to put tanks on river, tanks that may leak. The tanks would be better suited in an industrial park and nowhere near a river. We need to keep developing the waterfront and keep it clear. Green space is important, more recreation, more people in the parks, skateboard parks, and so on.
The biggest issue though is downloading from the province. I see that sitting on the Housing Committee. We have an older population. We’re trying to keep taxes low, but the province keeps downloading services. We’ll have to watch every dollar carefully. By avoiding consultant fees, we’ll have more money for services.
In conclusion, I support creating obs, hospital funding, bringing in a University, and keeping taxes low.
Its an exciting time to be here.
With twenty-one years on the school board, twenty-eight years as a police officer, and two and a half years on Council. That is the experience I bring to the table.