Ward 6 candidate Larry Vellinga

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vellinga larry webI’m a 57-year-old married father of three. I have a BA in business administration and an MBA in Business Administration with a major in eCommerce and Technology.

Currently employed as a manager at Ford Motor Company in Windsor. My departmental budget in 2013 was in excess of $88 million. I’m confident I possess the education, leadership skills and experience necessary to intelligently participate on council, governing and rendering the value added decisions necessary to move Chatham-Kent forward.

This community desperately needs growth to increase the tax base with more taxpayers, not more taxes. Job opportunities and growth go hand in hand.

My daughter’s baseball team defines the word TEAM as “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Only a TEAM effort from the community will suffice. I sincerely care about this community and chose to commute 160 km a day for the last 22 years rather than move to Windsor.

Would you support a tax freeze or rollback if it meant reduced staff or services?

Yes. Staff reductions and conciliation of services could be achieved through attrition. Since there are considerable training and other investment costs associated with each municipal employee, we should look at other opportunities.

Would you support an OPP costing study?

Yes. As in the private sector, the services provided to the community must be cost effective. Even if the OPP were not chosen it would show us whether or not we are receiving value by having our own police force.

Would you support examining a volunteer-only fire service if the provincial arbitration system isn’t overhauled?

No. The safety of our community is too important. Volunteers are valuable, especially in the outlying areas of our community. We could better serve our citizens by lobbying the provincial government on the arbitration process.

Do you believe we should continue our ongoing efforts to attract economic investment from China?

No. Although we need investment in our community, the trips and possible negotiation of investment should be left to higher levels of government. Mr. Nichols and Mr. VanKesteren need to relentlessly seek out those opportunities on behalf of the municipality.

Would you support contracting municipal services to the private sector if those services can be delivered more efficiently?

Yes. As with the policing question, municipal services need to be competitive with the private sector. You must however compare functions equally and have safeguards in place to ensure competitive pricing over the long term.

Would you support investigating amalgamation of fire/ambulance/police services to reduce costs?

No. The front line fire persons, paramedics and officers are too important to amalgamate and perform multiple functions. If any amalgamation were to take place, it should be in the administration function only.

Would you support a municipal tree-cutting bylaw if it contained incentives for woodlot owners to retain/increase tree cover?

No. I don’t believe the municipality should interfere with the private landowners’ right to their property. The municipality could still proceed with incentives to entice landowners to retain woodlots without passing a bylaw.

Do you believe we need a municipal ombudsman or ethics commissioner such as London and Windsor have added?

No. I believe the electorate will be loud and clear on October 27th that they will accept nothing less than honest, fair and transparent governance.

Would you consider developing a usage benchmark for municipal offices, arena and libraries and closing those that don’t meet the standards?

Yes. In the private sector, businesses that are inefficient go out of business. The municipality can no longer afford the personnel, building and maintenance costs associated with underutilized facilities.

Do you support development of a community-wide multipurpose recreation centre?

Yes. It’s in my platform that we need to cut waste in municipal services as well as invest in the future of the community to attract business and new citizens.

Do you support an adopt-a-park program in which service or volunteer groups assume some maintenance (grass cutting) of some municipal facilities?

No. Not until further investigation is completed regarding the liability of the municipality with this type of volunteerism. I think an adopt-a-park program for litter as is done with the highway program would be more appropriate.

Do you support investigating a reduction in the number of municipal councilors?

Yes. A ward system totally based on population would be appropriate. Reductions would be based on a population figure to be agreed upon for each councilor position. Some wards may need to be amalgamated. Ward 6 should be broken up into separate wards. All wards should have only one councilor to allow for direct citizen to councilor feedback.

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