ROLAND BESNER: Economic development high on the list of important issues

ROLAND BESNER: Economic development high on the list of important issues

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seaway News has reached out to all the candidates running for city councillor in Cornwall to answer questions concerning the future of our city. We are running their answers, verbatim, throughout the campaign in this online series, ‘Ask the candidate’.

1)      What do you feel is the top issue a new city council must tackle in the next four years, and how would you go about addressing that issue?

In talking with people there are many….. transparency, tax levels, support for small business and the most obvious “Economic Development” as it relates to jobs.

I will elaborate on only one “Economic Development.”

Economic Development isn’t only about jobs as many would think. It encompasses recognizing what you have….YOUR ASSETS , and, we must capitalize on these assets for use by the citizens to enjoy.

We actually have a couple of Jewels, both sitting on waterfront properties. I propose to immediately investigate the possibilities of the western part of Lamoureux park, and the other being Guindon park. I will elaborate this topic later throughout the campaign.

On the job front we must diversify the industrial base. We all remember when call centers where the thing, and how many are left ? I am glad to have all the distribution centers here as they are a boon to the city but I do wonder if or when economics change what will be the result.

Too many eggs in the same basket can and will destroy you over time. That’s why DIVERSIFICATION is needed.

We need to focus on higher paid jobs. According to the Community Action Group who  have stated the average family income to be of some 53,000 dollars. Let our economic development work on a mix of industries, concentrate on higher hourly rates

for the workers. This would in itself create spending dollars all while helping small business.

And, if council can get together, decide what the people want, and work towards the betterment of the people perhaps we could see lower tax levels.

2)      What do you offer, as a city council candidate, that your opponents do not?

Hum, I could probably write a book……..

My career started in Public Accounting which progressed to senior management positions  with large Industrial firms.

During this period my wife and I invested into several rental income properties throughout Cornwall

Subsequent to that, I had the opportunity to buy a local business having difficulty. Under my leadership, the business tripled in size, more than tripling the employees, and with our fleet of refrigerated large trucks served the retail food operators all through the three United Counties.

Over the years I have enjoyed working at the executive level of several charitable organizations. To name a few, President of the MS Society, President of the Arthritis Society, President of  Minor Boys Softball, Division Governor of Toastmasters International, Vice President of the Service Club Council and many, many others.

I have also been a lay committee member, appointed by council on the following:

     City Audit Committee

     Economic Development

     Cornwall Public Library Board which led me to being its Chairman.

Since retiring my wife and I set out to do things we always dreamed of doing, and, that is one of visiting while travelling. We decided rather than going south and staying put, we would see things.” THE GOAL WAS TO VISIT NORTH AMERICA. “

In the last eight years or so we have seen many things, and got many ideas. We have visited all 48 of the lower states and Alaska. We have visited all provinces of Canada including the Yukon and Newfoundland.

I might add  many of the places were visited on several occasions. We brought back many memories, visited several towns our size and brought back ideas that could be copied here on the Waterfront and I might add at a very minimal cost.

We only need to realize our assets and develop them to the fullest..

Now, I have the time, the experience know how and above all the willingness to bring Cornwall to a higher level but I am only one of ten.

3)      What needs to change, or remain the same, at city hall to make Cornwall an even more prosperous community?

Because of so many scandals in the last four years, from the integrity commissioner being called in so often, to the whistleblower cases, to the bad decisions made at the waterfront committee meetings, to the tanks issue and all this being reported in the press we need to have change at city hall.

And what about the ridiculous raise this council voted themselves and I was so against!

We must have a council who can work together for the betterment of the residents.

In life my personal principal rules are that of transparency, honesty, integrity and accountability and I stick by them.

Thus my campaign slogan  “CHANGE YOU CAN TRUST”  I am the new face that I hope people are looking for at “City Hall”

Just a little extra I would like to touch on  “THE BUDGET” which I think should be a concern.

Do the taxpayers realize……………….

Tax write offs in 2013 were of  $ 694,691. and budgeted in 2014 … $ 1,303,000. 

Question is who is not paying their fair share ?

Also a new line item in the budget for 2014

GENERAL OPERATING EXPENSE    2013 and prior     No dollars allocated

2014 Budgeted  $ 1,844, 456.

Can we speculate ?

In my opinion we can be a prosperous community, if only we can grow through new construction assessments and keeping spending cost under control.

Share this article