Skills needed to tackle issues

We are going to have a municipal election here in Fort Frances.
As of early Monday morning, there were two candidates for mayor and 13 for the six seats on town council. The election will be interesting to say the least.
Mail-in ballots will be distributed early in October and the ballots will be tabulated on October 27.
The newspaper will be putting together a biography about every candidate for publication with the distribution of ballots.
With so many candidates, voters will have to do a lot of research to determine who will best represent the interests of Fort Frances residents. What skills will they bring to the table to help Fort Frances through tough economic times?
With the loss of huge tax revenue from the closure of the paper mill, and the reduction of the value of the dam here, council will be faced with tough decisions.
Council already is looking at the loss of $1 million in tax revenue in 2015, the burden of which will fall to residential taxpayers. A one percent increase in taxes translates to $80,000 in revenue to the town.
Would residents agree to a 12 percent hike to make up for the loss in taxes?
Would residents like to see a combination of higher user fees to offset an increase in taxes? How much should the increase in user fees be?
Should the Memorial Sports Centre be self-supporting through the rental of ice time and pool time and swimming lessons being adequate to cover all operational and capital costs?
Are there services that can be cancelled? Is it necessary to plow every sidewalk, or should that be the responsibility of residents to clear the sidewalk in front of their homes?
In Thunder Bay, council there is grappling with how much should road snow plowing be reduced. Should the next council in Fort Frances also review the snow plowing policies here to reduce costs?
Should library hours be reduced? The size of the municipal staff in Fort Frances has been reduced over the past eight years in every department through attrition. Are there other staff reductions that might be possible?
Public Works has identified sewer and water lines that are in dire need of repair. Fort Frances has been relying on funding support from both senior levels of government to assist in funding replacement services.
At more than $1 million per single street to replace sewer and water lines, storm sewers, curb, and gutter, there is no end in sight to replace all of that infrastructure. Are there other financial alternatives to accelerate the replacement of those services?
These are all questions the 13 candidates must answer in the next two weeks before the ballots go out.
The next four years will be difficult for council. As voters, we need to know which candidates have the best skills to tackle the issues facing Fort Frances.

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