Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Todd Bennett.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I will be married 25 years this October to my wife Sheri. I owned a successful small business for 8 years, and have been on the management team at Farm Boy for the last ten years, where I have had extensive experience making and following budgets. For the last 4 years I have been on 3 committees of council, and I chair one, am vice chair of another. This experience has helped me learn the way to get thing s done at city hall.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
The first thing we need to do is remove all the unnecessary red tape new and existing business have to go through when trying to set up or expand. A focus on the east end that has mostly been forgotten in recent years, to help get Le Village up on it’s feet again. Helping to develop arts and culture in that end of the city would go a long way to start the revitalization of that area.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
As Chair of Cornwall’s Culture Advisory Committee, I have been focused on bring our rich arts and culture sector to the forefront. My end goal in all this is to see the development of an Arts Center. Our committee is in the process now of getting a needs assessment done to determine what we need, where it will go, who will use it, and how much will this cost? My hope is to have a facility shovel ready by 2117.
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.
Any one who owns a home, or runs a business knows that costs go up every year. So to say we can roll back taxes would be foolish and almost impossible. Wages and the cost of utilities alone make it tough to even hold the line at zero. However, a tax freeze is possible if we do a good job bringing in new assessment. Be it new housing, or better yet, more business investment, that will be the only way to hold the line. I truly am aiming for a tax freeze. If that isn’t the goal from the start, then it can never happen.
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?
The biggest accomplishment has been the attraction of distribution centers that have offered steady employment and new assessment to our city. The biggest challenge has been transparency and accountability. There needs to be a giant shift in the mind-set of city hall in what it tells its citizens about how there money is being spent. Good or bad, everyone needs to be able to see where the money goes. If there needs to be some confidentiality, they can still give us dollar amounts without telling us the who or what. That will be something I will push for. There is no reason for secrecy when it comes to money being spent.