10 Questions: Strathcona County Ward 5 Candidate Paul Smith

*Part of a 10 Questions series with local candidates

1.      The number one issue facing Strathcona county:

Governance or growth? I go with governance. Without building a cohesive council with a positive attitude, the County will never adequately handle the growth (industrial, residential, commercial).

2.     Is there a way to balance infrastructure maintenance and growth without debt?

Debt, like profit, is not a dirty word. Short and long term borrowing is a tool to be used cautiously, and the same with saving.  Normal yearly maintenance, as needed, is an annual budget item. Major or extraordinary repairs, such as the extreme frost damage to roads a few years ago, can be covered by short term debt. Growth that is net tax generating, like industrial, can be financed like a mortgage but net tax expense growth, like residential, must be paid for up front.

3.     What is your take on the Sherwood Park hospital issue?

The hospital is a Provincial item. Council can work with and lobby, along with our MLA’s, for a positive result or you can treat the Provincial Government shabbily and discover what happens. Or should I say, “Already happened”.

4.     Transparency is the buzzword for this election.  How will you contribute to an open government?

I think there are four questions to ask about each agenda item. Is it: contractual requiring non disclosure? Legal issues like those required by legislation and/or privacy acts? Discussions with the Commissioner about staff? If none of those three then “Why not”? As for councillor expenses, the funds belong to the ratepayer so the expenses should be public. If you eat soup and salad for lunch at home, do not eat “surf’n’turf” when you are working for the County residents.

5.     You are a attempting to replace the incumbent Councillor. Why do you believe Ward 5 needs a change in representation?

Every Ward in the County deserves a councillor who represents all the residents. A councillor who does listen to, does respond to and tries to deal with the concerns and needs of all the residents. For all four years! A councillor who puts a high priority on all  resident’s “quality of life”.

6.     Who was your first political influence/mentor?

Bill Gray, Strathcona County councillor.

7.     Your perfect Sunday:

A warm sunny day spent with family and friends. AND NO MOSQUITOES!

8.     The one thing you cannot live without:

Relationships with family, friends and neighbours.

9.     Your most embarrassing moment:

I am human; that means I have a “most embarrassing moment” at least once a week.

10. Your vision of Strathcona county in 25 years:

This question makes me wonder how my grandparents, about 120 years ago when they came to this area, would have answered. Back then they walked or used horses and they lived to use Studebakers and electricity. I remember our first black and white TV and now have an Android cell phone and use “Twitter”. And you want a vision? I’ll go with what my family before wanted; I see Strathcona being a safe place to raise a family and earn a living!

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His Name Was Steven