Editor’s note: The Morning Star gives mayoralty candidates one last chance to reach voters before elections Saturday with the following question – What is the No. 1 issue in Vernon and why should residents vote for you as mayor?
I think the answer comes from what so many residents have been telling me; it is time for a new mayor, with fresh ideas and new leadership to move Vernon forward.
As one resident told me recently, “we need new blood and a new approach in City Hall, not the same people all the time.”
I have stepped up and run for mayor to meet that challenge. Voting for Patrick Davies is voting for a new, open attitude at City Hall, for working hard at promoting our city, for spending tax dollars wisely to build amenities for now and the future, a mayor that will focus on opportunities to create jobs for Vernon residents, and for a mayor who will work tirelessly to move the city forward in a positive way.
Wayne Lippert (incumbent)
Stability, growth, relationships and experience are the No. 1 issue in this election.
I believe that with the world economy as it is we need a stable government that keeps its budgets under control while providing the level of services expected from its citizens, encourages existing business to grow and expand while attracting new business to our city and the North Okanagan.
We have a number of inter-municipal agreements with NORD to provide some of our services to them and we have recently signed a MOU dealing with Greater Vernon Water contracts.
I have strong relationships with the province which is a great asset when applying for grants or working on solutions for issues like our hospital.
Crime rates are consistently dropping, 2011 overall tax increase of 0.24 per cent, we are following the OCP.
As mayor I have the knowledge and experience to lead us through the next term.
The main issue seems to be our economic situation. Our budget has risen faster than our economy and has risen much faster than our neighboring cities like Kelowna, Penticton, and Kamloops. Our General Municipal Taxes rose 29 per cent over three years to 2010, while the other cities had a drop in taxes or a rise below 5.5 per cent.
Our relationship with our community neighbors has become so dysfunctional that services that were once shared are now duplicated, costly and inefficient. This has slowed economic development to the point that we have fewer businesses in the North Okanagan in 2010 than we had five years prior.
I will bring an intelligent, informed, and cooperative approach to regional and sub-regional issues so that we can move toward a harmonious and sustainable future. I have experience in negotiating with senior government and will be an experienced, knowledgeable advocate and leader for our city.