My name is Bill Hutchinson and I am running for Mayor. I can earnestly say that I am probably more qualified for this job than I have been for any position in my working life.
I was an employee of the town since 1980, working for 4 years as Works Superintendent and then as Administrator until my retirement in 2006. In my capacity as Administrator I was also Treasurer, Deputy Collector and on occasion filled in for the Building Inspector.
Over the years I have actively participated in various community functions. I coached minor and junior B hockey, was a board member for the Thunder Hockey Team, was Chairman of the Wynndel Irrigation District, served on the Wynndel Fire Committee Board and was President of the Creston Golf Club.
My background is in engineering and administration. Before coming to Creston I worked for a Toronto engineering firm, was Assistant City Engineer for the City of Timmins and worked for a Prince George engineering firm. This experience as well as my 26 years with the Town of Creston where I served under 4 mayors and numerous councils is why I feel confident that I can begin on day one to get our town back on track.
I feel the Fire Hall has been an unnecessarily contentious issue. There is no question that we need a new one. The only question is how big and where. It should be built on property that the town already owns. Any other location would have to be purchased adding to the total cost, not to mention the loss in tax revenue from potential commercial sites.
In the late 1990’s when the town received the property from Crestbrook (Cedar St. site) and the RCMP, the building was constructed, the remaining property was designated to accommodate a new fire hall and an emergency response building.
Majority rules and last December taxpayers were given the opportunity to have their voices heard. The final tally of the vote was a definitive No.
For months now I have been hearing taxpayers voicing their concerns over the alarming rate that taxes have increased in the last 10 years.
What I would propose as a priority would be to freeze taxes and introduce zero-based budgeting so that huge surpluses (1.3 million dollars in 2017) are not created by over-taxation. Innovative thinking for finding new sources of revenue such as were done for projects such as LILO, and rent revenue from the RCMP building. Transition funding for RCMP costs which affected the taxpayer was implemented with their permission through a counter petition process. I would also work towards curbing spending, promoting economic development and revisiting the question of becoming a District Municipality.