*As I talk to more people in our community, I will be updating this space with any trending questions or ideas.*
Question: What can Kitchener do to address affordable housing and the homeless?
Answer: The primary jurisdiction of these issues is the Waterloo-Regional Government but it’s also the responsibility of the Provincial Gov’t, which provides much of their funding. The City has a more minor role (e.g. inclusionary zoning) but the Region is squarely responsible for most social services including the sheltering of the homeless. Regardless, Kitchener has been punching-above-its-weight, even crossing jurisdictional boundaries, because it is an emergency. We have:
- Already donated >$2M of city-lands on Block Line Rd. for 41 affordable housing units dedicated to at-risk women.
- Continual support of ‘A-Better-Tent-City’ which was formerly entirely on our lands, now partially, as-shared with the Public School Board on Ardelt Ave.
- Approval of a “Housing for all” strategy which includes up to $15M through our Economic Development plan for affordable housing.
- Waiving of costly development, and other fees for new affordable housing units.
I’m proud to have supported all of these initiatives but we must remember that the more we spend on another level of government’s responsibilities, the less we have for our own. It’s critical that governments respect jurisdiction to be accountable to their citizens. If you care about this issue, please engage your MPPs & be sure to review Regional-councillor-candidate platforms before voting to help us put an end to homelessness.
Question: If Kitchener’s tax increases are so low, why is my tax bill going up so much?
Answer: I get this question a LOT. Remember, Kitchener is only one of three bodies of Government that comprise your property tax bill- the others are the Region of Waterloo & the School board. In fact, of your total tax bill, Kitchener only gets about 31%. The Regional government takes 55% and the balance goes to the School Boards. If you do the math you’ll discover over the last 4-year term, Kitchener only raised your total tax bill by 2.3% while the Region raised it by 6.6%. The following chart shows how we compare locally:
Question: What political party do you belong to?
Answer: I’m guessing all municipal candidates get this question. The answer is that I do not belong to any. There are no parties at the municipal level, and I like it that way! I agree & disagree with various aspects of all parties, but at my level, Councillors make their own decisions. There is no “party line” to tow. It’s refreshing to be honest… despite ideologies being all over the place on council, there’s an incentive to work together and find common ground to advance unlike other levels of government.