As part of our 2022 municipal election coverage, Sudbury.com crafted an eight-query questionnaire for mayoral candidates, asking them to share their thoughts, opinions and strategies on everything from taxation to facilities rationalization to their leadership styles. We will be publishing the responses to each question in individual stories over the coming days. Each candidate was contacted by email several times to provide the questions and invite their participation. Not all candidates responded. As well, in the coming days you will be able to find the answers to each question on the election section of Sudbury.com.
Greater Sudbury borrowed $200 million to fund various projects, including $90 million to fund the Kingsway Entertainment District project, of which about $5 million was spent. Now that the KED is dead, the borrowed money earmarked for its construction (approximately $85 million) could be used for other things. What should the city do with that money?
I think it’s important to include the new council in any decision that is made, because it’s a shared priority of the whole community. I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the new council will decide, as I think this is a whole of council decision, and there are some good discussions that will need to be had on what their priorities look like during the new mandate. I think it’s incumbent that council set its priorities as a team to decide what to do with this money.
As I am meeting and listening with the residents during the campaign, many residents are concerned with the overspending of the taxpayer’s money. They feel strapped and are worried that they will be unable to meet their financial obligations and are having trouble paying their tax bills, water bills, insurance, and putting gas in the car. They have trouble finding affordable housing and putting food on the table. They are also worried about the debt that their families, especially their children, might be responsible to pay for in the future. I believe that this decision must be taken by mayor and council after getting the true facts from our CAO, management, and staff. How much has CGS borrowed? Interest rates have increased significantly. We are an aging population. Who will be paying the money borrowed? We need clear answers from our staff before we make important decisions concerning this borrowed money. The residents feel that they are not getting the true facts. Restoring the citizens’ trust and confidence in our city’s municipal government system is paramount for the success of the newly elected mayor and council. This is what I stand for.
It's too early to tell how to best use the money. Once the new council and mayor are in place they will have full access to necessary documents to make this decision. I would like to see money go towards maintenance of city-owned buildings like the Onaping community centre and the volunteer fire halls. Not only are these buildings in disrepair and not maintained but are also short staffed which is dangerous for those citizens.
Bob Johnston — no answer provided.
The borrowed money would go to the construction of a new arena or refurbishment of the present one. If we have excess funding left over I would like to see it expensed on infrastructure and maintenance needs that the city has.
That borrowed money should be used for its intended purpose – to provide Greater Sudburians with a world-class event centre. Two things are true: the Downtown Sudbury Community Arena needs to be replaced or renovated; and Greater Sudbury deserves a world-class event centre. The same is true with plans to invest in a new downtown library, a new Art Gallery of Sudbury and a Multicultural and Folk Arts Association Centre. The price tags as proposed for these things is steep, but I have no doubt that with the right plan and the right partners, the next council can bring the cost to taxpayers down and bring a better return on our investment. To do this, we should be building on existing local infrastructure, working with existing local businesses, and remember the goal is to attract new investments and grow our tax base. We have to work together to find solutions to see these projects through in a way that meets our needs, that builds on our goals of developing sustainably, and improves the social, economic and employment fabric of our city. Most importantly, we must work together to find solutions that will bring our community together, rather than divide us.
J. David Popescu — no answer provided.
I have proposed an external audit of our city’s budgets. This will best identify where there are issues, and where expenditures are returning good value. Once we have identified these key issues, we can then better determine where to spend the funds where they can be of most value. This question requires the audit recommendations in order to make an informed decision as to whether it would be best to spend it on new construction projects or spend it on reducing our infrastructure deficit.
Put towards deferred asset maintenance of infrastructures and to avoid increasing property taxes.
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