DAN CEARNS, The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: After three terms as a Kawartha Lakes city councillor, Pat Dunn is setting his sights on the mayor’s chair in the 2022 municipal election.
“I think it’s time. It’s kind of a move up and move out, type of routine, for me. Plus, there’s things on council I want to change. I don’t really like our current format. I think we can do a better job than we have been doing with some tweaking of the way [the] council does their business,” Mr. Dunn explained.
He also expanded on the type of tweaks he’s looking at.
“We reduced the number of committee meetings we were having. I believe in committee meetings. I think councillors need to be involved at the ground roots, rather than just receiving a final report after all the kinks have been ironed out. I think that’s fundamentally wrong. We should know the arguments from both sides,” Mr. Dunn stated. “We reduced our number of council meetings from two per month to one per month. Once again, that takes away council’s opportunity to interact with staff [members] and hold staff accountable.”
He noted, he’s not the biggest fan of the Committee of the Whole meeting system, where the council votes on items, but those motions and items aren’t ratified until they’re voted on in a council meeting.
“It’s fine to receive reports there, but we seem to do all of our work at the Committee of the Whole [meetings], where we can’t make motions. It’s just an extra step we don’t need. So, let’s do the majority of our work at the council level.”
Mr. Dunn would also like to see changes to the current municipal budget process.
“We used to have a budget committee where the managers presented their budgets to a committee, and we heard all the pros and cons. Right now, we [only] get a final document. I’m not in favour of that type of system. I think we should be more involved in the inner workings of the budget [process].”
When it comes to moving the city forward, he noted, “growth is the manner in which to bring more revenue into the city.”
“We can’t borrow our way out, and we can’t tax our way out,” Mr. Dunn stated. “In the meantime, we have to watch our spending and focus on the key elements. It’s fine to do the fluff stuff, but let’s temper that with fiscal responsibility and looking after the core items.”