Veteran council member Ron Toles is looking for more restraint when it comes to city spending as he hopes to earn a third term on Swift Current City Council.
Toles said as an eight year council veteran he will be advocating for more restrain in some non essential areas during these uncertain pandemic era times.
“I really want to see this city continue to grow and develop, but I think especially in these uncertainty times we have to be very cautious of our spending. This is not the time for massive tax increases for things that don’t necessarily have to be done,” he explained.
“I love our park system, I love our path system, but maybe we don’t need to extend the pathway this year. Maybe that can wait for a couple of years,” he said. “Things that don’t need to be done…we just need to hold back maybe a little bit.”
He also pointed to the current city policy for vehicle and equipment replacement, but wondered if it would be a better idea to squeeze another year out of some of the equipment that would just move the plan by a year.
Toles has lived in Swift Current for over five decades, and his experience with numerous boards, agencies and events gives him a diverse perspective on the community.
The highlight of his first term on council was serving on the board of the Prairie Pioneer Independent Housing, where the board made some necessary changes including new management, providing better living conditions, and fostering a more relaxed atmosphere.
He added that a second term highlight was his work on the Chinook Regional Library Board, where again there were changes in management and improvements which made library services more accessible in Swift Current and the Southwest.
He said these experiences have fueled him to seek a third term.
“I have the energy, I have the time, and I just still feel I want to be heavily involved in helping this community.”
He added that he wants to bring a strong voice of community residents to the council table.
“I’m really more of an out in the people type of person, rather than a policy and sitting behind a desk type of person. I want contact with the citizens,” he said. “I like to listen to what the people are telling me and to voice that opinion in council.”
He was a member of council when they adopted the policy to utilize the Light and Power dividend to fund capital projects as opposed to using the dividend to keep city taxes lower while utilizing debt or capital expenses.
“The idea of that was to develop a policy that would reduce our reliance on debt, so we could use the Light and Power income to pay for capital expenditures, mostly for equipment and things so we don’t have to borrow money to buy things that we need in the City.”
He said an October decision to purchase a new street sweeper was made utilizing funds from the Light and Power dividend, and he is pleased with the impact of the policy.
“I am. In fact I was really in a push to make that happen. I campaigned on that my first term was to get a away to reduce our reliance on debt. We still have debt, but it’s going down instead of up and that’s a good sign. And so it is working, and I’m really glad that I was a part of making that happen.”
He added that the city is facing financial challenges ahead in the current COVID era, and city residents and businesses should have a stronger voice when it comes to how their money is spent.
“In my opinion we need to involve the community more. We need to have more contact, more input. You need to tell us what you think we need.”
“Council should serve the people, and if re-elected I will work hard to restore that feeling that we are there for you and always available for contact and assistance.”