Mayor-elect for the City of Belleville Mitch Panciuk.(Photo:John Spitters/Quinte News)
Belleville’s incoming Mayor and his new council have an ambitious vision to implement over the next 4 years and they’re challenging an important
community organization to help make it a reality.
At a Belleville Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting today (Wednesday) Mayor-elect Mitch Panciuk stressed how important it will be for Chamber members
to lobby local Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament for more financial support to make improvements in the city.
“I’m very concerned about how the provincial government is going to handle their financial situation. There have been years of downloading costs on to municipalities
while local communities have the heaviest responsibility for infrastructure while being left with the least effective means of raising revenue, that being the property tax.”
“We, as a local council, as local taxpayers, cannot grow the city and make it an even better place to live without more support from both levels of senior government.”
The Mayor-elect added that both local MPP’s, Todd Smith and Daryl Kramp, were influential in the Ford government and should be asked to provide better ways to help municipalities thrive.
Panciuk also said he’d learned a lot in the past 4 years as a councillor and said while there were many things the council did well, there were some things it could have done better.
“Going door to door in the campaign I kept hearing that residents wanted a change around the council table. There were no issues that were particularly bothersome, it
seemed as though they were upset with the style council operated and some of its processes”.
The incoming Mayor said he couldn’t be happier with his new council saying he didn’t believe any councillors believed they could just jump in and make quick changes.
“I’m sure we’ll have good discussions and get good information before moving ahead on issues. This won’t be a “shoot first ask questions later” kind of council.”
Panciuk outlined the group’s priorities as being, among others, housing, both affordable and otherwise, waterfront development, arts culture and heritage, safe streets,
and aid for vulnerable residents.
The new council’s inaugural meeting will be this coming Monday, December 3 at 11am at city hall. It will be streamed live over the internet and will be presented live
on local cable television.