A Kimberley City Council has announced his intentions to run for Mayor of Kimberley in the upcoming municipal elections in November.
Don McCormick says that over the course of his first three-year term on Council he’s been getting more questions about his running for mayor — and support for that idea.
“I’ve had so many people asking if I’m going to run or not, that the reason I’m declaring a little bit early is so I can start engaging with these people without having to be non-committal.”
McCormick feels he has the right leadership for the times, and for the period of time that Kimberley is about to enter.
“I think we’re at the stage in Kimberley right now where if we want to get to the next level we need to have a different kind of leadership,” he told the Bulletin.
“I have a vision for the role of mayor. We have a well-paid CAO and competent staff to administer City operations. The mayor needs to focus on where we will be in five years and beyond, and work with Council to make that vision happen.”
McCormick said the mayor needs to sell Kimberley to the province, to the “feds” and to business interests, and to work closely with regional partners.
“The mayor needs to chase down money,” he said. “I want to be the city’s best salesman.”
McCormick was first elected to Kimberley City Council in the 2011 municipal election.
“The thing that I’ve really liked about (municipal politics) is that unlike at the federal or provincial level, municipal politics isn’t really politics. It’s about what’s right for the community. No matter what the higher political leanings — left or right — at the end of the day it’s pretty much down the centre on what is in the best interests of this community.”
McCormick will be running on a platform of “sustainability.”
“Over that three years on Council, I’ve observed a couple of things:
“First of all, we don’t really run a municipality like a business. My background is a business background. Kimberley has a $27 million budget each year, so I look at it like a $27 million business.
“There’s two sides to that equation — the expense side and the revenue side. And the one thing that’s really weak, particularly with Kimberley, is the revenue side. Our tax base has really born the brunt of the mine closing 12 years ago. And our taxes have been going up at a fairly substantial rate.
“In my view, a five or six per cent a year increase is unsustainable, in a community like ours with 6,700 people.
“So we need to place some emphasis on the revenue side. We need new sources of tax money. Both from the business tax side, industrial tax side, and new people coming to town.”
Tourism alone isn’t the answer, McCormick said.
“We have a great tourism product, but tourism alone can’t save a community. Tourism is hard on the business community. It’s fickle, it’s got peaks and valleys. It’s either feast or famine. And while it generates disposable income going into the business community, it doesn’t generate anything as far as taxes are concerned.
“If we don’t do something else, we’re going down a path where we’re going to have to cut expenses. And cutting expenses in any community is a very difficult thing to do.”
McCormick also feels Council has been under-utilized.
“We have tremendous talent on Council that needs to be engaged. My goal is to provide the leadership and guidance that maximizes that talent.”
McCormick and his wife Bev have lived in Kimberley since 2002. He operates Synersales Management, Inc., a consulting business.
McCormick is asking the citizens of Kimberley to share their concerns and ideas with him. Municipal elections across the province are slated for November 15, 2014.