District of Kent Q&A: Jack Van Dongen

District of Kent: Van Dongen, Jack - council candidate

  • Fri Nov 14th, 2014 5:00pm
  • News

Jack van Dongen

Q: What do you see as the main issue in Agassiz, and how do you propose council can address it?

A: In two words, “Fiscal Responsibility”.  Council controls taxpayers’ money and they have a responsibility to spend it wisely.  This requires thoughtful research by Council to determine what is both necessary and affordable.  It is important to ensure that the service or investment is properly carried out putting quality first, yet delivered in the least costly manner.  Council has to lead by example and work constructively with staff to establish priorities and manage all spending to provide the best overall benefit to the whole community.

Q: The municipality needs to collect taxes to provide sufficient services to all of its members. Explain the benefits or pitfalls in providing tax breaks to businesses or farms, as you understand it.

A: Council has a duty to keep property taxes fair and competitive for all businesses and farms within the provincial framework that local government operates under. I don’t believe in special deals for individual situations or tax holidays for new businesses coming in. Tax breaks for new businesses is a sign of disrespect for existing businesses.  I believe in supporting existing businesses with competitive rates and encouraging new business with credible performance as a local government.  If we remove the red tape with existing businesses, it will have a positive effect to encourage new business to set up shop in the District.

Q:  While the community elects representatives, the district staffs do the day-to-day work of running operations. If elected, how do you plan to foster relationships within the workplace to keep the district running smoothly?

A: I believe in developing respectful working relationships based on sound principles of leadership and governance. This requires a proper understanding of the different roles of Council and staff. Effective leadership starts at the top with Mayor and Council.  I believe in elected officer training for both Mayor and Council and this should not only include new members of Council but also incumbents. The two key relationships are between Mayor and Council as well as Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer.  My job as a Councillor would be to work together with the Mayor, fellow Councillors and the CAO. That is my commitment to the businesses, farmers and residents of the District of Kent.