1) Yes or No: Should Meaford allow bricks-and-mortar marijuana shops to operate in its boundaries? Why?
Yes, I believe Meaford should allow marijuana shops in the Municipality. Sin taxes such as beer, liquor and cigarettes, which all carry much stronger health concerns and historical dependencies, have long been a large part of the tax base. Now that marijuana has been legalized it should be afforded equal opportunity. It would enable us to help control the messaging and sales to minors, and would add a viable business sector to help grow our industrial tax base and ease the residential tax burden.
2) Yes or No: Should the municipality invest more into infrastructure and roads maintenance, even if it creates more expense for ratepayers? Why?
Meaford has over 400 km of roads and bridges that need to be maintained. The harsh reality is no municipality can afford to repair all of its infrastructure at once. It needs to be properly planned and scheduled based on professional engineering studies that prioritize the necessary work based on safety and need. This should be a priority that, if possible, any increase comes from restructured services elsewhere, not a specific tax increase.
3) Yes or No: Should Meaford hire a Chief Administrative Officer or continue with the model in place since the departure of the past CAO? Why?
First and foremost I believe a Municipality should be run like a business. Therefore, I believe Meaford should hire a full time CAO. Successful businesses have a hierarchy with a President, CEO, or GM at the top, someone that is ultimately accountable. Council's time shouldn't be spent micromanaging the staff and worrying about the minutiae of day to day operations.
4) What is one other issue facing Meaford you would like to speak to, and how will you address this if elected?:
I often hear what a waste of money the Meaford Hall is. The reality is, the Hall attracts over 55,000 visitors a year to our community. 2/3 of all shows draw over 200 attendees and 35% sell out. Most importantly, 65% of attendees, over 37,000, an average of 103 per day, are from outside of Meaford. If even a small percentage of these visitors have a meal, shop at one of our stores, stay at one of our local accommodations, or visit one of our farms or fruit stands, wineries or cideries, it brings valuable external dollars into our municipality.