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Meet your candidates for Deputy Mayor

August 11, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

Last week we introduced you to the two candidates for Mayor in the 2018 municipal election – incumbent Rick Milne, and Tony Veltri.
This week, meet your candidates for Deputy Mayor – Peter Barbati, J.J. Paul Whiteside (current Ward 3 Councillor), and Richard Norcross (current Ward 6 Councillor).
We asked 14 tough questions to help the public get to know their candidates, and here are their answers, printed verbatim.

Peter Barbati
Full Name: Peter Barbati
Town of Residence: Beeton
Length of time in New Tecumseth: Around 26 years
Primary reason you’re running? Introduce and foster innovative ideas for our communities.
Campaign slogan: Forward New Tecumseh
What are our most important challenges facing the community? Growing debt. Lack of cohesiveness. Weak tourism and lack of industry
What do you cherish most about this community? Clean. Friendly and safe.
What type of leader you will be? One that fosters innovation and positive action. One that seeks input from our communities.
What are your priorities for change in our municipality, in the short term. What about in the long term? Grapple growing debt. Increase tourism and industry to help our cores and workforces.
What are the biggest fiscal challenges in our municipality, and what do you envision as the best way(s) to address them? Increasing debt and lack of industrial and manufacturing tax base.
What innovative projects would enhance life in this area? Interlocked communities…all new development must include walk trails linking all areas. Expand the Tottenham Bluegrass fest into the New Tecumseth music festival and involve all communities. More weekend attractions to draw external dollars into our town, avoiding the problem of “domestic exhaustion” that plagues most cores. I am also a strong advocate of an inter-community bus, modest but effective and sustainable, to help our students get to their part-time jobs and as an assistance to those that do not drive.
What is your perspective on the best way to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our area? Too difficult to answer in brief as every level has its agenda.
How do you envision communicating with constituents? I would like to see 2 yearly “state of the town” meetings to be held in our auditoriums.
What will you do to continue to be involved with the community should you not win? Same as before. Some volunteering and committee involvement where possible. I am community minded and would try to push for more consultation with community members prior to turning to reports on certain issues as I believe we have much untapped talent in our communities. I would like to see two plebiscites on expensive projects, such as the new admin center, prior to committing to such projects.
The public meeting format seems to be lacking. We need to bolster our tourist industry and to that end, I would like to see more weekend events designed to draw in external dollars. Internal consumption can only help to a point and an increase in external consumption dollars will help our community cores. Consider a town-wide music festival, “cycle through out community” event, an expansion of the trade show to feature all of the builders building homes in our community. In that last example, we should be able to draw more visitors who are considering moving into our town. That alone would boost our image as a good place to live and grow a family.
We need to strengthen our industrial and manufacturing base as those would provide a much-needed infusion of tax dollars, lessen the stress on our residential tax base and also provide many needed jobs for our citizens. Not every high-school graduate wants to go off to University or move out of town to find employment. As the highway-commercial corridor along the 400 is building quickly, we need to act now, rather than take a reactionary role.

Richard Norcross
Full Name: Richard Norcross
Town of Residence: Town of New Tecumseth. I have lived in the Town of New Tecumseth for approximately 25 years with my wife Robin and our 2 sons Jayden and Riley. My wife and I have owned several local businesses in our Town and have provided many local jobs for people. I am active in the community and know firsthand the impact of decisions the Town makes both with the Groups I work with, the Residents I serve, my Employees and on Local Businesses.
Slogan: Our town…Our Future
Primary reason for running: It’s our Town…Our future. My ultimate vision of New Tecumseth is the number 1 community to work, live and play safely together. So how do we accomplish this? The truth is we all do better when we support one another…as friends and neighbours. This is where we take my job representing people very seriously and I have always been very responsive. This comes from many years of running successful businesses (New Tecumseth EDC 1995 New Business of the Year winner and New Tecumseth 1999 Entrepreneur of the year winner) and knowing that communication is the key. Living within our means is very instrumental to success.
Most important challenges facing our community: There are many, including:

Respect for Community groups – We need to re examine how to make local club activities, arts, cultural activities and sports more affordable again. Let’s get back to the table with our arts, sports, cultural and community groups. These are the very volunteers that we have nickled and dimed to death. They volunteer their time to create these great community services and activities our residents enjoy. These are great people, doing great work. We need to support them.

Our Water – There are members of council who would like to give these services away. I say absolutely no way. Surrender these services and we lose all say in the growth that is coming to our area. I am absolutely opposed to the mega development that is proposed between Alliston and Beeton.

Doing more for less – Household expenses continue to rise. We all face this pressure on a daily basis. We need to be smarter to look to our neighbours to see if there are common efficiencies that can be achieved much like our shared police services. We need to look to our existing town buildings to house our staff. Businesses are downsizing, there facilities are becoming more efficient. We do not need to be spending our limited resources on building a brand new, fancy $15 million plus Administration Centre that few residents will ever use. We certainly do not need to blow our limited reserve accounts and go deep into debt to do it…which is the plan as it stands.

Better jobs
We have a 1000 acre business park that is sitting empty. As your Deputy Mayor and county councillor I will actively promote and encourage businesses to locate here. We need to develop good quality jobs close to home.
What do you cherish most about this community? I am committed to the betterment of New Tecumseth and I believe that my involvement with countless committees and service groups for the last 25 years, as well as 18 years on Council, is both a compliment and testament to my dedication. The people make New Tecumseth great and I believe in supporting our community groups.

What type of leader you will be? I am not one to talk about myself. I am far more interested in listening and engaging in conversation with the person I am speaking with. People would say that I am:
• Consistent, Dependable, Concise and Logical
• Compassionate, Patient and Caring – Strong Business Experience

What are your priorities for change in our municipality, in the short-term? What about in the long term? We maintain a significant amount of old and outdated infrastructure. Our bridges, our roads and our pipes in the ground continue to age. We need to get on with the work of replacing the infrastructure and get away from continuing to commission studies. We all know the work needs to be done, so let’s start doing it.
The New Town Hall takes over $7 million from our reserves (your savings account) and an additional $8 million will come directly from straight taxation. I have been opposed to this project from the beginning as it is not fiscally responsible. Just because the majority of this council has moved ahead with the project does not mean we need to plunge ourselves further in debt. Any further money would be better spent fixing our crumbling roads and making our arts, cultural and recreational programming more accessible. I am on record during this council term in a recorded vote not supporting this project. If elected Deputy Mayor, I will work to stop this project. We need to learn to live within our means. Everyone else does it, and so should the Town, because after all, we are all tax payers and it is our money.

Ward Boundary review
Our town is changing. I voted against the last design of the ward boundary. I believe that we need fewer members of council sitting at the table. I will champion this review and propose to reduce the number of council members from 10 to 7 and have the wards realigned to reflect the diversity of our community.

Water quality
All of our Towns should be connected to the water pipeline. We all deserve the same quality of water as we are all one Town.

New Projects
We need a new Hospital now. As a community we need to start budgeting money to make this a reality. We are entitled to funding from the province and the county. I do not believe as a community we have adequately demonstrated how important our local community hospital is to us…the need is now. I will lobby on our behalf and demand that this becomes a reality. We will need to show a financial commitment to ensure that this facility happens.
I believe in good quality health care close to home and that our hospital deserves our support. It’s one of my priorities. We need to ensure that our emergency room is never closed again, and that our maternity unit is never threatened again.

What is your perspective on the best way to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our area? Open and honest dialogue is a must. Regular communication and a loud voice are imperative. As a business owner, I have always had to be a leader, to ask and fight for what I need. I intend on a regular basis, to share our concerns and needs with our MPP and MP and ensure our community is heard.
How do you envision communicating with constituents? Whether in person, by telephone, email or social media I am always available. I have a solid reputation for responding quickly to residents needs and inquiries. I will continue to provide this high level of service that our residents are entitled to receive and should expect.

What will you do to continue to be involved with the community should you not win? I have always dedicated myself to our community groups volunteering my time before I was on Council. That will never change. I look forward to strong community support and the opportunity to be your Deputy Mayor. We need someone who can work with people, influence decision makers in other levels of government and who has proven themselves to be responsive and a strong advocate.

J.J. Paul Whiteside
Full Name: J.J. Paul Whiteside
Town of Residence: New Tecumseth (Alliston)
Length of time in New Tecumseth: Lifetime
Primary reason you’re running: I am running for the office of Deputy Mayor as I have the required experience, knowledge and time to provide strong fiscally responsible representation at both the Town and Simcoe County levels. I am a retired professional accountant (FCPA, FCMA) having several years of related experience in the accounting and municipal fields. In 2009, I retired after 28 years as the Town’s Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer. I have served 8 years as Ward 3 Councillor and in 2018 served as the Alternate Simcoe County Councillor for the Town. As Deputy Mayor, I will make the full-time commitment to serve and work with the residents of New Tecumseth to make the Town a better place.
Campaign slogan: “Leadership You Can Trust”

What are our most important challenges facing the community?

The most important challenges facing the Town include:
• Debt level and the financing of major capital projects including hard infrastructure rehabilitation projects
• New water supply agreement with the Town of Collingwood
• Public Transit
• Beeton drainage issues
• Water pipeline to serve Tottenham
• Rapid growth implications
• Maintaining Tax and Utility rates reasonable
• Ensuring all Town Departments are operating effectively and efficiently
• Traffic issues (e.g., volume, speed, etc.)
• Ensuring an active role in the development of the County of Simcoe’s “Municipal Comprehensive Review.” This review has been mandated by the Province
• Economic development – the need for increased commercial/industrial development and expansion of existing businesses
• Lack of affordable housing

What do you cherish most about this community? The things I cherish most about my Town include:
• Small Town atmosphere
• Location – proximity to major highways, airports, major cities and CPR mainline
• Prime farmland
• A combination of urban and rural
• A variety of services and amenities that are offered throughout the Town
• Recreational/Cultural facilities and services
• Employment opportunities available throughout the Town
• Access to healthcare
• The communities and the people who live within them

What type of leader you will be? I am an experienced leader who has chaired several boards and committees. My leadership skills include:
• Accountable and Transparent
• Honest
• Strong verbal skills
• Articulate and Persuasive
• Perceptive to the ideas of others
• Consensus builder
• Collaborator
• Global thinker
• Team Player
• Strong Negotiator

What are your priorities for change in our municipality, in the short-term? What about in the long term? My priorities for change in my Town include:
a) Short Term
• Ensure all departments are operating effectively and efficiently
• Ensure a water pipeline to Tottenham becomes a reality
• The upgrade and replacement of the Town’s aging infrastructure (roads, etc,)
b) Long Term
• Implementation of the Town’s Long Range Capital Plan in an effective and cost efficient manner
What are the biggest fiscal challenges in our municipality, and what do you envision as the best way(s) to address them? The biggest fiscal challenges in our Town include:
• Maintaining the Town’s debt well below its permitted limit and as low as fiscally possible
• Managing the funding gaps in the Town’s long-range Capital Financial Plan
• Maintaining Tax and Utility rates reasonable
Best ways to address the above challenges include:
• Establishment by Council of annual budget goals for management
• Researching and sourcing alternative means of Capital Project financing (e.g., front ending agreements, leasing, grants, etc)
• Prioritization of capital needs, focusing on needs versus wants

What innovative projects would enhance life in this area?
An innovative project that would enhance life in this area is:
• Establishment of a hub configuration in New Tecumseth. Potential partners could include Georgian
College, YMCA, upper level government offices and services

What is your perspective on the best way to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our area? The best ways to collaborate with other levels of government to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our area include:
• Being honest, fair and reasonable
• Working jointly with other municipal governments and businesses in the area on issues of importance
• Working closely with local MPP and MP representatives to ensure their support in resolving local issues
• Meeting with government ministers and staff regarding important issues which require their assistance and cooperation

How do you envision communicating with constituents? How I plan to communicate with the constituents:
• I will continue to communicate in a timely manner, as I have done during the last 8 years as a Councillor
• I will remain approachable and available to serve my constituents’ ongoing needs
• Being retired, I have the time to listen to residents and businesses regarding their concerns/suggestions whether it be through phone, email, or an in-person meeting in my office
• I will also keep Town Council and the residents informed of County Council issues and decisions

What will you do to continue to be involved with the community should you not win? I will remain committed to serving my community in a variety of ways as I have done in the past.

         


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