Taxes, seniors main topics at Portland Ward candidates debates

Written by  Wednesday, 10 October 2018 13:55
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From left: Council candidates Bruno Albano, Brad Barbeau, Tom Bruce, Doug Morey and Ray Leonard; mayoralty candidates Phil Archambault, Mark Schjerning and Ron Vandewal; moderator Jeff Green. Photo/Craig Bakay From left: Council candidates Bruno Albano, Brad Barbeau, Tom Bruce, Doug Morey and Ray Leonard; mayoralty candidates Phil Archambault, Mark Schjerning and Ron Vandewal; moderator Jeff Green. Photo/Craig Bakay

Quality of life for seniors and tax increases dominated the Portland all-candidates meeting last week in Verona.

In the seniors services debate, incumbent mayoralty candidate Ron Vandewal pointed to support of transportation services.

“We’ve given grants for transportation,” he said. “Maybe not all the money they’d like, but we try.”

“We do fund and support South Frontenac Community Services,” said mayoralty candidate Mark Schjerning. “I’d be supportive of increasing the support.”

Mayoralty candidate Phil Archambault said his background in health services would be a benefit in the recruitment of doctors and other health professionals to the area.

Incumbent candidate Brad Barbeau said there were plans in the works for a seniors facility in Verona.

As far as taxes went, candidate Bruno Albano was blunt.

“I don’t believe there should be an increase in taxes this time around,” he said.

Barbeau pointed out that Road 38 is going to need work and it would have to be paid for somehow.

Most of the other candidates were more or less resigned to the inevitability of taxes.

Vandewal said that feedback he’d received on the campaign trail indicated that most voters were OK with an annual increase of 2 per cent.

“We spent $15 million in public works

Schjerning pointed out that “50 per cent of our budget is roads” but he’d also like to see more recreation facilities which he suggested would attract younger families to the area.

“We spent $1.1 million on recreation last year,” said Vandewal.

 

Before the municipal candidates’ debate, Limestone District School Board trustee candidates Suzanne Ruttan (incumbent) and Roger Curtis faced questions from the audience.

Neither candidate seemed too keen on returning to the old sex education curriculum but the majority of their time was spent on why the Board’s web site still has Prince Charles School on a list of potential school closures.

Ruttan said “the Ministry of Education told us to put that up and hasn’t told us to take it down.”

Curtis used the line of questioning to say “we spend too much on computers and not enough on mental health.

“It’s time for this board to get rid of its ‘shiny things’ syndrome.”

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