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ELECTIONS 2010: Two candidates faced off for County Ward 4

by David Meyer

BELWOOD - Two county council candidates for Ward 4 met here on Monday night to consider the issues.

Jim Heinbuch is challen­g­ing incumbent Lynda White for the position on Oct. 25.

Heinbuch said he lives on the Conn Road and is semi-retired so he is ready to serve.

“I have no council ex­peri­ence but I do understand how council should run,” he said.

He told the audience it wants someone who is access­ible and “someone who cares.”

He added, “What is almost as important is getting your ward what it needs is protecting your ward.”

Heinbuch said “A lot of people are not sure what county council does, who it is, and how to get hold of them.”

He said in Centre Welling­ton, 53.3 cents of every tax dollar goes to the county, and in Wellington North that is 45 cents.

“I will make myself avail­able by phone or email. I’m prepared to learn as quickly as I can.”

White said she was born in Fergus and lived in Arthur nearly 30 years, and went to high school with many in the audience.

She has been on county council for the last ten years, and involved in local politics for 17.

She said she was warden in 2004 and it takes “leadership, dedication, and trust” to win that post.

White said the county budget is $161-million, and $70-million of that is from taxes.

The county is responsible for roads and bridges, social services, libraries, policing, and waste management, and she has chaired the social services committee and chaired the Police Services Board the past four years.

She said the police service is adding new officers every year because the county is growing and protection of citi­zens is important.

She cited the county’s good fiscal management and its AA credit rating from Standard and Poors.

She noted the county began planting 150,000 trees during her term as warden and that evolved into the Green Legacy program, the largest municipal tree planting program in North America. On Oct. 3, the county will plant its one millionth tree on the county museum lands.

She added there is $400,000 in the Rural Water Quality Program to help farmers im­prove the water quality on their properties. She noted that the county has hired a lawyer to fight against the wind turbines.

“I understand and I concur with your concerns,” she said.

A resident asked White about rural high speed internet, and why people are being charged $70 to have a supplier come and tell them that they cannot get the service.

White said the county re­ceived a provincial grant to help pay for such a service, but its commercial partner went out of business. She said a new partner has begun the work, but it has told county council that there are places that cannot yet be connected.

She said she hopes over the next few months, those diffi­culties can be overcome.

Another resident challenged ­White by saying the county has an “open cheque” and “when we pay for it, we’re not im­pressed.”

He asked what the county has accomplished without spend­ing money.

White told him, “If you want the services, you have to pay for them.”

She said the county could refuse to raise taxes but then it would reach the point where services are slashed or a huge increase is needed.

 

Vol 43 Issue 40

 
 

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