t8n: You’ve said that one of your goals as mayor would be for council to re-establish trust with the community and that you’d approach this by increasing the accountability among council members. How?
MacKay: I don’t want to slight anybody. I don’t think that trust has been broken with the public. But to improve trust, one of the things I’ve worked towards on this council is bringing forward an integrity commissioner. It’s an independent body, and if any ethical issues arise on council, then the issue can be examined independently and reported back to council. That way the public can be assured that the conduct among city staff and council is ethical and that it has had an impartial and independent investigation. That’s the one thing that really could have benefited this current council.
t8n: You’ve gone on record saying that you’d support the construction of a second library if the plebiscite passes with at least 50% +1 of the votes. However, in previous council sessions you’ve been opposed to the library. Why has your stance on this shifted?
MacKay: One of the things I’ve been criticized for is that I voted to support the library and put it into the budget. But when there was another vote to bring forward the borrowing bylaw, I didn’t support it at that time. To be clear, I support our library. I use our library. However, if this is something the public doesn’t want, I’m very happy to support their wishes either way. What I’m more interested in is representing the public’s priorities in council, rather than just picking the things that we would like. The pool and the rink, which are also on the ballot, also have tremendous need in the community. I’m committed to supporting the results.
t8n: Your website states that you plan to improve services while reducing taxes. What services would you improve, and how would you do so with a lower tax base?
MacKay: Not with a lower tax base overall, but with lower taxes than other candidates would have. Parks and snow cleaning are two things that are at the top of my list. I’d like to see better maintenance of our parks and more efficient snow removal.
Insofar as tax reduction, what I’d like to do is find some efficiencies within the city. One thing I did this last term was to get an internal auditor in place, and they’re going to be retained going into November. If we work with him, we’re going to find a lot of savings and efficiencies within the city where we will be able to deliver value to St. Albert residents. I would also like to institute an efficiency bonus. If a resident comes forward with an idea where we can save some money or deliver a better service, they should be rewarded for that. As a council, we’ve never really looked at efficiency ideas coming from residents. I’d like to give that a try and give these people a small financial incentive to come forward and have their ideas heard.
Click below for our interviews with:
Cathy Heron Cathy Heron 2017
Malcolm Parker Malcolm Parker 2017