THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – “I am running for councillor-at-large to join like-minded citizens who want to see a new approach taken to the spending of tax dollars,” states Shane Judge. “In the short term, I am in favour of the private sector solution for an indoor turf facility erected seasonally over the new artificial turf field that’s about to be installed at Fort William Stadium.
“I will also push for council to re-visit its commitment to a $60 million single-campus replacement for the Balmoral Street Police Station. I believe there are much less expensive options out there that involve closer co-operation and the sharing of facilities with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service”.
In a statement to media Judge says, “In the short term, I also believe we need to get a better handle on the state of our roads, especially our main arteries. I would like to examine the option of in-house roadbed repairs and re-surfacing to see if cost savings could be achieved over strictly using contractors. I will also move to quickly implement a complete revamping of our stop-light system to improve the movement of traffic along our main arteries.
“I also intend to propose changes to the rules related to how the city does business with the private sector. My goal is to increase transparency. I want to end the secrecy surrounding the selling of city-owned properties such as the Municipal Golf Course and the purchase of assets such as the power station at the Boulevard Lake dam as well as leases and contracts.
“Longer term, I believe we have to bring our operating costs under control. The cost of running Thunder Bay city hall is significantly higher than the average for municipalities across Ontario.
“This does not involve hiring consultants. Rather, I want to see councillors more engaged in the oversight of the city’s administration.
“I want to begin by pushing the process ahead to reduce the size of city council in combination with making the job of a councillor a full-time position. That said, it is my belief that a final decision on the size and composition of council should be left to a plebiscite.
“I do not propose reducing taxes. Instead, it’s my wish to do a better job of holding the line against future tax increases by looking at alternate ways of delivering services. For example, I firmly believe we can save significant dollars by combining the back-office services of the city with those of Tbaytel, Synergy North and the District Social Services Administration Board.
“I also want to take a new approach to the $20 million dividend the city receives from TBaytel each year. I want to see those monies set aside in an invested wealth fund for a period of 25 years. That will create a $500 million dollar fund that we can use to fund large infrastructure projects, including the replacement of Fort William Gardens.”
An earlier headline on this article had Shane Judge running for Mayor. He is not. NetNewsLedger apologizes for the error.