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All candidates, all positions: Election 2016

You’ll want to read this before casting your vote on Wednesday.

In the interest of providing a quick, one-stop guide for all voters in the upcoming municipal election on Wednesday, 106.1 The Goat has compiled the following list of all three candidates for the mayor’s seat, and short notes about their stances on the different municipal policies impacting our community.

Each candidate has a short bio, and their positions on the “burning questions” which came up during the all-candidates forum held on October 18, as well as secondary information based on policies they have proposed during the campaign.

The following information was based primarily on the responses which came up during the forum, and other public statements made by the candidates throughout the campaign.


Jason Whiting

Mayoral candidate Jason Whiting is pictured in the offices of The Goat. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio
Mayoral candidate Jason Whiting is pictured in the offices of The Goat. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio

Bio: Jason is the sole sitting council seeking the position of mayor, after Lloydminster mayor Rob Saunders announced he would not be running in 2016 earlier in September. A first-term councilor, Whiting is involved in many community groups, currently serving as the president of the Lloydminster Rotary Club and a co-founder of the Lloydminster Young Professionals. His latest position outside the municipal government was working in sales at a local oilfield company.

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Positions

Community Hub Project

-In favour of the concept, and of the purchase of the Synergy Credit Union building, looking at it as an asset that the City would be able to use in the future. Describes himself as a big fan of the downtown, and compared the project to the former Co-Op plaza, wants to bring a similar feel back into the downtown.

-Has made a point of saying that funding for the Hub project will be coming out of a “different pot” compared to other capital projects, with different areas of higher-level governments being spoken to for funding.

Transparency and Accountability

-Said that the City has come a long way in terms of transparency, with council decisions being made in the open, with no in-camera decisions ever made.

-Has pointed to the revised purchasing policy and Your Voice nights as examples of transparency, and said that the new financial software being rolled out in the municipal government would allow for more financial information to be made available online.

-Would want to update the City website, as well as live-stream council meetings, and has proposed the movement of the meetings to Tuesdays instead of Mondays.

City Administration

-Has said that the municipal administration needs to be held to account, and policies should be put in place that will lay out what is required of administration, focusing in on the lack of a limit on travel expenses, which allows for “misinterpretations and clarity” on what is allowed.

-Has said there are some “serious” and “blunt” conversations to be had with the City Manager, focusing in on what the vision is for the city, and how issues can be addressed moving forward. Whiting also wants to have good comparables to other communities when it comes to the salaries of administration.

-Not in favour of the return of the committee system.

Financial Management

-When asked about what he look to eliminate from the budget, Whiting said it would not be solely up to him as a mayor. Indicated he would seek to find additional revenue, and find efficiencies within the municipal government. He also said spending has been good for the upkeep and general state of City facilities, and that the biggest challenge the city faces is “weaning itself” off land sale revenue.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

-Has agreed with his rival candidate Gerald Aalber’s about needing more provincial funding, and indicated that more relationship-building would need to take place.

– He has framed the effort as a “sales job” and said that prov-fed ministers would need to be made aware of the project. During the forum, he also mentioned past efforts saying that the EPCOR option was pursued, and put aside after feedback from the public to seek other solutions.

Miscellaneous

-Supports the concept of a full-time deputy mayor, instead of the two-month rotating position as the system currently stands.

-Would let the Highway 17 couplet project move down the priority list, says the City has “bigger fish to fry.”

-Said the biggest group of people he has managed has been the Lloydminster Rotary Club, in his current role as president.


Cheryl Ross

Mayoral candidate Cheryl Ross is pictured in the offices of 106.1 The Goat. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio
Mayoral candidate Cheryl Ross is pictured in the offices of 106.1 The Goat. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio

Bio: Ross has been a resident of Lloydminster since 1994, and active in the political arena for many of those years, with a long stint as a trustee of the Lloydminster Public School Division. In recent years, Ross has been running in multiple races in the local area, and ran against the outgoing mayor, Rob Saunders, after former mayor Jeff Mulligan resigned from his position and caused a by-election in 2014.

Positions

Community Hub Project

-Does not support the purchase of the Synergy Credit Union building, and would seek to discuss with council the possibility of other locations to relocate the library.

Transparency and Accountability

-Plans to create a culture at City Hall that will work for the community, and that the residents deserve more clarity on why decisions are being made. She has said she would want to see increased accountability at City Hall, with a focus on after-travel reports being put together.

City Administration

-Ross has indicated that she views the current city administration as “top-heavy” and would want to sit down with the newly elected council members, and the city administration, to talk about what’s working and what’s not.

-has promised a review of the City’s strategic plan

Financial Management

-Has said that all pencils on budget lines ‘must be sharpened’ and that the City needs money in the bank, and would additionally seek to review all proposed department budgets.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

-Has said the options to date have “appeared unsatisfactory” and would look at the possibility of debenture borrowing to get funding for the project in place.

Miscellaneous

-Indicated her largest decision-making experience was with her position on the public school division.

-Has promised to hold quarterly round-table discussions with local non-profit organizations.


Gerald Aalbers

Mayoral candidate Gerald Aalbers is pictured in his home in the Border City on September 29th, 2016. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio
Mayoral candidate Gerald Aalbers is pictured in his home in the Border City on September 29th, 2016. Photo by James Wood/106.1 The Goat/Vista Radio

Bio: Aalbers has been a resident of Lloydminster since 2005, and has had previous political experience as a ministerial assistant for the Deputy Premier of Saskatchewan. In local involvement, he has worked as a member of the board of directors for the 2016 Lloyd Heavy Oil Show, and is a member of the Lloydminster and District Fish and Game Association.

Positions

Community Hub Project

-Not in favour of the project, said “It must be stopped” during the forum. However, he did say that the library would need to be helped, and the next council would need to deal with the issue. In additional public statements, he indicated he would want to hear from the newly-elected council about their thoughts on the project, and make decisions based on the input from residents.

Transparency and Accountability

-If elected, Aalbers has pledged to post his expense accounts monthly, and would ask council to do the same. He would also ask council to support a policy for all senior management in the City administration to do the same, and said that full transparency of contracts would restore public trust.

City Administration

– Would also want to get council together to decide on a vision for the city, and have administration carry out that vision.

– In addition, he would ask for security doors that currently keep the offices of senior management and city workers closed off to the public to be opened up so residents can have access to the building, in an orderly fashion.

Financial Management

-Though he did not mention specific ways he would propose to handle the City finances, Aalbers has said that the City of Lloydminster has a spending problem, which needs to be reigned in, and also has mentioned that a forensic audit might be needed to see ‘what’s gone wrong’.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

-Would contact Colleen Young, the Saskatchewan-side MLA to help set up an extension to the 2017 deadline for the wastewater treatment plant to be finished, seek to meet with both MLA’s to ask about provincial funding, and ask city administration for a complete report to both council and city residents about the project, the treatment options explored, the funding options explored, and why those haven’t been successful. Would also seek to explore local ownership.

Miscellaneous

-Supports the deputy mayor position as it currently stands, which is operating on a two-month, rotating basis.

-Would let the Highway 17 couplet project move down the priority list.

-Said the largest group of people he’s managed was a team of 20 people on a challenging project over a week.


Good luck to all the candidates!

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