Describe your leadership style:
Collaborative but assertive.
What do you consider the single most important issue facing Calgarians, and what should be done about it?
TAXES. I commit to supporting a motion at city council for a 4-year tax freeze for residences and small business owners.
What are the three most important issues in your ward, and how would you address them?
1. Taxes: I commit to supporting a motion at city council for a 4-year tax freeze for residences and small business owners. Lowering taxes to assist homeowners and businesses is only possible if there is responsible spending.
City operations are run on a legislated, balanced budget. This means that the city can only spend available revenue. For too long, the city has allocated spending before looking at available revenues.
While taxes are the main source of revenue for the city, increased spending is set (year-over-year) before the total revenue available is considered. This creates enormous pressure on taxes, as revenues need to be matched with annual spending. This practice needs to change. This mindset at City Hall must be reversed. Available revenue needs to be established ahead of spending.
Lower taxes for Calgarians helps keep residents in their homes and leaves more of your money in your pockets. Lowering business taxes encourages businesses to invest their money. Businesses create jobs. The result is a more stable and viable local economy.
2. Transparency and Accountability: I commit to posting my voting record and any expenditures made by my office. It’s time to start doing things differently at City Hall, and this includes putting a stop to the entitlement of some elected officials.
Transparency and accountability are essential for all decisions made at City Hall.
Immediate changes that I would push for at City Hall:
• Significantly reduce in-camera, closed-door meetings
• Oppose the “Guidebook” and the over-densification of our single-family communities.
• Publish voting records and expenses of elected officials in a timely manner and make them readily available for the public.
• Require the city’s finance department to publish a quarterly budget, to ensure public oversight of the management of city finances.
• Restructure the Audit Committee, where the chairperson role is held by someone independent of council, not an elected official – as is current practice. This arm’s length chairperson would report to city council regularly.
I believe these critical first steps will significantly improve transparency and accountability at City Hall, as well as work toward restoring public faith in Calgary City Council.
3. Infrastructure: I will push for an interchange to be built at Sarcee Trail and Bow Trail to alleviate congestion, reduce time travel and reduce our environmental impact.
Support for community infrastructure is essential for City Hall. It is a municipal responsibility to maintain and build infrastructure projects, such as green spaces, recreational facilities, bridges and roads.
Comprehensive, transparent public consultations must be held with the impacted communities and stakeholders, and factor into the planning, approval and finalization of all public projects. Listening must be more than lip service.
I have identified the intersection at Sarcee Trail and Bow Trail as a clear priority for Ward 6 residents. This is one of the most congested intersections in the city, with serious safety concerns. Previous councillors have failed to advocate on behalf of residents and that is why I am making this a top priority if I am elected.
Do you support the city’s downtown revitalization strategy? Where should funding and programs be focused?
I believe that the city’s downtown revitalization is flawed. Handing out over a billion dollars without any transparency and accountability, to put it mildly, is unwise. I firmly believe in a hand-up instead of a hand-out. The revitalization of Calgary’s downtown has to be multi-faceted.
1. I think the key is to create a business-friendly environment through lower taxes for businesses, which would encourage businesses to invest, create jobs and help the economy.
2. Parking is a huge issue in Calgary’s downtown. The exorbitant cost of parking discourages Calgarians to visit our downtown, which in turn discourages businesses to come to downtown. City Council needs to find innovative ways to create more affordable parking in Calgary’s downtown. One idea could be free parking for the first two to three hours for everyone coming downtown.
What innovative project or job creation measure can you propose to aid Calgary’s post-COVID economic recovery?
It is up to the private sector to create jobs, not government. It’s essential that city council keep our taxes and spending in line so that people can stay in their homes and small businesses can thrive.
What should city council do to keep young adults from leaving Calgary?
Young adults are leaving Calgary due to a lack of opportunities in our city. My adult daughter is a prime example of that. City Council needs to create a business-friendly environment by lowering business taxes, which will encourage businesses to invest, create jobs and opportunities for our young adults.
* All candidate Q&As have been edited for clarity and brevity.
*Original article online at https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/sanjeev-kad-ward-6-calgary-council-candidate-questionnaire