Mayoralty candidates focus thoughts on relationship building Featured

Published on Tuesday, 13 September 2022 07:34

This week’s “ask the mayor” segment focusses on the need for positive relationships outside of the municipal.

The question for candidates Kerri Riehl and David Bosiak specifically asked, “Considering no municipality can operate successfully as an island, what weight do you give to relationships with neighboring municipalities and the two senior levels of government?
Further, how would you nurture and evolve those relationships?”

Here are their answers.

Kerri Riehl

It is critical for the City of Dauphin to build and sustain strong relationships with other municipalities, as well as the other two levels of government. These connections are the lifeblood of our community.

How would I nurture and evolve these relationships?

I own and operate an Incorporated business, Riehl Security Solutions. For the last seven years as an entrepreneur and sole owner of my company, I’ve examined revenue streams and expenses. I survived and pivoted during the covid era. I have a business mindset which requires analyses of markets and marketing, customers, finance, operations communication, information technology and business policies and strategies. The City of Dauphin is an incorporated business also bound by these same principles. The city financial audited revenue and expenses for the 2021 tax year:

• Property taxes - $6,077,954
• Grants in lieu of taxation - $382,396
• User fees - $1,497,417
• Grants, Province of Manitoba - $2,098,450
Grants, Other - $849, 693
• Permits, licences and fees - $217,513
• Investment income - $67,830
• Other revenue - $421,130
• Water and sewer - $5,134,494.
• Total revenue - $16,746,877

• General government services - $1,390,017
• Pretective services - $3,285,973
• Transportation services - $2,933,571
• Environmental health services - $977,681
• Public health and welfare services - $108,900
• Regional planning and development - $221,685
• Resource conservation and industrial development - $540,199
• Recreation and cultural services - $3,373,080
• Water and sewer services - $3,089,970
• Total expenses - $15,921,076
• Annual surplus - $825,801

In my opinion, we greatly need to increase revenue without relying solely on the taxpayer to “foot the bill” and bear the burden of increased taxation. Recent funding announcements:
• $9.1 million from the Provincial and Federal government for Dauphin’s lagoon expansion. We waited 10 years for this funding.
• $13 million to reconstruct Provincial Trunk Highway 5A.
• V15 million courthouse renovation.

The cities revenue was $16,746,877.00. Without funding from other levels of government the above infrastructure developments would not be possible. Therefore, it is imperative to work with these levels of government. The political system is designed for municipalities to capitalize on these opportunities.

The City of Dauphin is part of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. This organization represents 2,000 municipalities and 90 per cent of the population. FCM’s annual conference and tradeshow provide council the opportunity to attend and learn best practices. It also provides council the opportunity to bring back ideas to our community. For example, I spoke with a Mayor from Nova Scotia whose city hired a grant writer to access and obtain funds from all levels of government. They received many grants increasing their revenue drastically for their community. I brought this idea back from FCM to our municipality.

The City of Dauphin is also a part of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities. The AMM is comprised of 137 municipalities across Manitoba. They hold two conferences and tradeshows a year. They have an executive board which I, as deputy-mayor, ran for vice -president. Unfortunately, I was not successful at the time. Dauphin has not had representation on this board in its 124 years of municipal governance. I will try again as the mayor of Dauphin.

I believe Dauphin needs to greatly improve its relationship with other municipalities. This is one of the key reasons we have not been successful at growing our economy. The provincial government’s regional and economic profile for this area clearly indicates agriculture, health care and education opportunities are vital to our economic growth.

I believe opportunities come from within our region as a collective force who then leverage provincial and federal funding. We have all the data, studies, plans, information at our fingertips. We need an action plan and not another document to sit idle on the shelf.

I have demonstrated over the last five years that I am action in motion. I started and developed a successful business. I work with municipalities and various levels of government daily. I teach for the province of Manitoba and been in 30 different communities reaching over 300 students. I am a private investigator and hold a Manitoba security guard license. I am a member of the Dauphin Parkland Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

I am going to continue to do what I’ve done since returning home in 2015. Be active, energetic, involved, engaged, attend meetings, be prepared, and be a voice for all citizens in our community. Our city is not an island. We are part of the broader development area called the Parkland region.

David Bosiak

When I started thinking about this topic the question “where are you from” kept running through my mind.

Whenever I’m away from home I speak of the benefits of life in Dauphin and those benefits extend beyond the city limits.

The Rural Municipality of Dauphin and its people and amenities are knitted into the fabric of this community and we in theirs. Our families are their families, our kids play on teams together, we are co-workers, we go to the same schools and churches. When good things happen in the RM the City benefits, and vice versa.

A positive relationship with the Rural Municipality of Dauphin is key to our collective success. If elected mayor I will maintain this important bond by increasing the number of joint City/RM council meetings and continue the beneficial relationship that has been created by the City/RM liaison committee meetings that include the mayor and reeve, RM CAO and City manager. Neither council should ever be surprised by a project or issue in each other’s jurisdiction.

Municipalities and governments are systems - systems I am familiar with. My previous work experiences took me throughout the province to most municipalities and many First Nations. I worked with mayors and reeves, chiefs, councillors, CAOs and city managers. I’ve seen relationships that work and those that didn’t. Things that don’t work? Bullying. Being a know-it-all. I guard against those instincts.

I remember the advice of a friend early in my career. While attending a national conference he said “attend as many sessions as you can, but make sure you put great effort into networking. Get to know people who know things you don’t. The connections you make will help you in the future.” I took that advice and applied it in literally everything I have done since. The advice to be curious about other perspectives and humble enough to admit there will always be things you don’t know was sound and continues to benefit me as a leader.

I am more interested in moving forward than being the person who comes up with the best idea first and consider myself an optimist and a bridge-builder.

I have never asked anyone to do anything I wasn’t prepared to do myself. I truly believe that anything is possible when people work together and relationships have to be respected for that to happen. A culture of relationship development and retention is the most important indicator in an organization that things will get done. I would set this expectation on council by never leaving a table of discussion if I didn’t get my way.

Relationships with other levels of government are also key to our success. My years of experience dealing with ministers, deputy-ministers, assistant deputy-ministers and program directors in a variety of departments and portfolios was an education in government relations.

I would continue these conversations for the benefit of the citizens of Dauphin, and would ensure that council is never blindsided by a decision like the closure of the jail again. I will further ensure that council members and city staff also develop working relationships with appropriate government representatives.

The work of building relationships with other governments is evolving in Dauphin. First Nation and Metis government organizations are making significant infrastructure and other investments in our community. These investments are key to our continued growth and prosperity.

Be it with the RM, our neighbouring municipalities or other levels of government, I will make sure we are ready and able to work together and that we are never an island unto ourselves.

Read 477 times Last modified on Wednesday, 28 September 2022 09:57
Published in Dauphin Herald News