Greater Sudbury’s new city council begins its four-year term with a swearing-in ceremony tonight, but what about the most prevalent and unique ideas shared by the 37 candidates not elected to city council on 24 october
A newly elected City Council is due to be sworn in tonight in Tom Davies Square, ushering in a new four-year term.
Although nine of the 13 members of the city council are incumbents, this does not necessarily indicate a status quo body of elected officials. Along with four new members and fresh ideas from the election campaign, platform points from the 37 unelected candidates could also come into play.
While some people view elections as referendums on any topic, few voters are motivated by a single issue, and there’s no sense in letting potentially viable ideas wilt on the vine.
As mayoral candidate Don Gravelle said during a Chamber of Commerce debate in October, “I’m ready to steal everybody’s ideas. »
Last week, Sudbury.com contacted Greater Sudbury candidates not elected in the October 24 municipal election to find out which campaign items they would like to see postponed. Their responses were compiled with the ideas promoted during their campaigns.
Perhaps the most common refrain during this year’s election cycle has been the call for an audit of city finances.
Mayoral candidates Miranda Rocca-Circelli and Bob Johnston were among the strongest advocates of an audit, which Rocca-Circelli later clarified in his campaign as having to be a “fair value audit,” which deepens the nuances of efficiencies.
The city already undertakes an annual third-party compliance audit as required by the province, and the city’s auditor general leads several audits of specific areas of city operations each year, but the city council is able to increase the effort if he sees fit. then.
Also on the efficiency front, zero-based budgeting was mentioned by several candidates as a potential way to free up funds, which has proven successful in other municipalities. This means of budgeting starts each budget cycle from zero, with costs and revenues being assessed to determine if each item is still necessary to achieve the business plan.
Last year, city chief executive Ed Archer suggested a phased approach could pay off, with the city gradually reviewing its 58 service lines with three to five reviews a year. This approach, he estimated, could save the city $3 to $5 for every dollar invested.
Here are some of the other key ideas to emerge from this year’s election cycle.
Greater Sudbury Ghost Junior Council
Mayoral candidate Evelyn Dutrisac has proposed a shadow Greater Sudbury junior council and told Sudbury.com this week she would like to see the newly elected city council go ahead with the idea.
“As a former high school teacher, I have the greatest respect and confidence in the youth of Greater Sudbury,” she said.
“When we connect, listen, engage and empower young people, they get involved and give their 100% in the causes they defend. They show big ideas, creativity and compassion in the projects and causes they believe in.
The Junior Shadow Shadow Council would allow high school students to engage in city government, express their own ideas and perspectives, and “propose courses of action and methods for creating positive change in their communities on a civic issue, identify volunteer opportunities where they can develop a sense of service and leadership skills.
Working with school boards and schools, students would be elected to sit on the shadow council and spend time discussing relevant issues dealt with by the council. Before council meetings, they met in the council chamber to make their recommendations.
“I encourage our city council to support and set up a committee to develop and implement this idea,” she said. “I am interested in working with the city to create a Greater Sudbury Parallel Junior Council. »
Youth and Young Adult Advisory Committees
Ward 6 candidate Michel Lalonde proposed a youth advisory committee for 12-18 year olds and a young adult advisory committee for 19-25 year olds.
“In short, these groups would be consulted to promote, maintain and improve the quality of life for young people in Greater Sudbury through consultation, education, advice and advocacy,” he told Sudbury.com. “They would also advise and respond to requests from the mayor and council on youth issues and foster the development of a continuum of services for young people in the area.”
Shift the tax burden to mining companies
A few candidates mentioned shifting the tax burden to mining companies.
The city’s industrial tax rates already exceed the provincial threshold of 2.63 (compared to 1 for residential), meaning the city is actively reducing its tax burden to meet the limit.
Ward 4 candidate (and then Councilor) Geoff McCausland argued that the city needs to pressure the province to allow it to raise taxes on mining companies so they pay for a greater share of municipal resources, namely the roads their heavy machinery has trodden.
“We need to hold industry and government accountable to get a fair reduction in mining revenues,” he told Sudbury.com. “Mining trucks destroy local roads, yet they pay very little local tax compared to what they have paid historically and what they pay internationally.”
With nine active mine sites and a geography spanning more than 29 countries, he said there was far too much infrastructure for the local population to manage.
“Much of this infrastructure only exists because of the mines,” he said. “In the past, I have highlighted reports that show we need over $45 million (15% tax increase) per year to maintain our roads, over $100 million (tax increase 33% tax) to maintain all of our infrastructure, and that we only replace our water pipes once every 215 years.
Ward 8 candidate Vital Rainville told Sudbury.com one solution could be road tolls.
“Companies that use our roads to transport minerals on our city’s infrastructure have been given a free ride giving shareholders a net gain at the expense of taxpayers,” he said. “Furthermore, we need to start finding a system of corporate royalties for the metals mined in our city.”
Various other campaign points were broader in scope, such as Ward 1 candidate Jordan Derro’s push for the city to do more to support the arts.
“Artists create works that we all enjoy every day, that increase the value of civic property by replacing graffiti with recognizable works, that bring money to our community in the form of tourism dollars associated with concerts, festivals and shows,” he said.
His argument is that the common refrain, “there is no money for this luxury”, should be more easily dismissed, since there is value in the arts.
“Most big cities have arts organizations that are funded by the municipality. We should also see this at home.
Today’s swearing-in ceremony in Tom Davies Square is invitation-only due to space limitations, and those in attendance were encouraged to wear masks due to the current medical landscape.
Members to be sworn in include:
- Mayor Paul Lefebvre
- Ward 1 County Marc Signoretti
- District 2 Com. Michel Vagneni
- District 3 Com. Gerry Montpellier
- District 4 Com. Pauline Fortin
- Ward 5 County. Michael Parent
- Ward County 6. René Lapierre
- Ward County 7. Natalie Labbée
- Ward 8 County. Al Sizer
- Ward County 9. Deb Mc Intosh
- Ward 10 County. Service Fern
- Ward 11 County Bill Leduc
- District 12 Com. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann
The ceremony begins at 6 p.m., and a livestream of the event can be found by clicking here. Alongside the affidavits administered by Judge Karen Lische, Mayor Paul Lefebvre is scheduled to deliver his inaugural address.
Click here for a story highlighting what the latest incarnation of the City Council has pledged to do during its campaigns.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.