Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Mary Ann Hug.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I am a health care worker in the Cornwall area, and from this I have seen a lot of people in a lot of different situations. I have experience running a small business as well. I know how to stay within a budget from the business experience and also from being a single parent. I am no stranger in regard to our city council, having served a two year term. I am forthright and do not believe in cover-ups or hidden agendas. Integrity and quality of behavior are values I follow.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
By making the process of obtaining a business license and the permits necessary to implement those businesses easier and more pleasant to obtain, there would then be a more positive environment for businesses of all sizes to come forward and locate here. If we developed a tourist area near the downtown or in La Village, this would attract more business owners as well as clients for them. What may be a deterrent is the high taxation rate that this city has. Just saying that we are open for business is not enough. We have to indicate how we are going to help businesses survive.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
I have a history of producing shows, plays actually, for fund raising in Cornwall. There were always problems and concerns with rehearsal sites and show sites. Having been a former member of the Glen Theater board, I also am aware of the problems regarding the maintenance of a privately owned building. We need a focal point for the arts. Aultsville Theatre is owned by St. Lawrence College, and, therefore, control is in their hands. There are some large spaces vacant in the city. These should be studied for feasibility in regards to an art and culture center, which would be an asset to attract more people here and more businesses.
4 – Do you support freezing or lowering taxes? If so, where would the savings come from, and would you support reducing some services? If you do not support freezing or lowering taxes explain why.
Lowering or freezing of taxes is always a hot topic. Our taxes are very high. Essential services should never be reduced. Finding savings within all departments is crucial every year. Waste exists. Find it and eliminate it. Depending upon the services, user fees should be reasonable and equal to all users. One huge problem is salaries for those working for the city. We need to look at what we take in versus what we can give out. There should be caps to salaries that are realistic for this city.
5 – What has been the biggest accomplishment at City Hall over the past four years OR what has been the biggest issue of concern at City Hall over the past four years?
I think the biggest accomplishment for City Hall is that they have started to talk to the Federal Government about taking over waterfront land. You can’t have control over what you do not own. The biggest issue I feel is the amount of controversy that surrounded some former staff and the issues involving these people which ended in court cases. With the amount of secrecy that was present regarding these events, and the amount of money that was paid out to end the events, Cornwall suffered a lot. I believe that if you have done wrong, no one should try to cover it up. We need integrity and honesty. It’s time to move on.