Time for a change, candidate says

Supplied photo - Michael Reles

Supplied photo – Michael Reles

Michael Reles said the city has been mismanaged for far too long and he wants to see that stop.
“It’s time for change, and the people of Port Colborne have the appetite for it,” Reles said in a release as he declared his candidacy for Ward 1.
“This city has been mismanaged far too long. We’re now in a situation where it’s becoming common practice to borrow money for 30 years to pay for city projects. This council has borrowed money for 30 years to fund a $380,000 consultant report on extending our water system to the east side employment lands. That’s not even going to get a shovel in the ground. I really love the skate park that was built in Lock 8 Park, but by borrowing money over 30 years to pay for it means we’re paying for it twice. That’s irresponsible and unacceptable. As councillor, I will never vote to pass a project that can’t be funded in a shorter term. It’s unfair to the people of Port Colborne and outlandish to fund projects this way.”
Reles, 34, said the city has been biting off far more than it can chew.
“The burden that the Vale Health & Wellness Centre has placed on the tax base is really sad. We’ll be sinking almost 10% of the total tax revenue into the Vale Centre alone. That’s often what the entire parks and leisure budgets are for municipalities in Ontario, not a single facility.”
Reles said the city hasn’t done enough to fix an aging water system that loses one third of what goes into it.
“… the end user is paying for 50% more water than they actually use. Seniors and others on fixed incomes in Port Colborne are already having trouble making ends meet …”
Residents, he said, are facing a financial burden as rates increase due to the sale of Port Colborne Hydro.
“It has translated into lost revenue in the city budget and results in Port Colborne having the highest property taxes in the Niagara Region. “This next council will have to clean up the mess from the legacy of reckless spending.”
Reles said the move forward in retaining youth and building a vibrant city starts with focused investment into projects and initiatives that improve upon on our greatest assets.
“I’d like Port Colborne to start focusing on improving the downtown. I want to work with the downtown BIA and all other business owners in Port Colborne to help breathe new life into our great city. We don’t need to look far for a great example on how it can be done. Niagara-on-the-Lake has done a great job of pulling tourists away from Niagara Falls by building a vibrant and beautiful downtown core. I believe that investing in our downtown will create jobs, an engaged community, and a real attraction for tourists.”
He believes a lot of the issues on the table will resonate with the people in Ward 1.
“Across this city, we need to elect those who are calling for better management of taxpayer’s money and those that have the vision to see that Port Colborne can be vibrant city where sustainable growth retains young people. We need to invest wisely and manage assets responsibly. This past council didn’t do that and I’m prepared to see that through,” said Reles, who has had a career communications, marketing, and small business for more than a decade.
Reles can be reached at keepit@reles.ca, 905-325-7334 or www.reles.ca