County finances must be overhauled, says Jim Wiese
Friends convinced him to run for Division 3 seat
Jim Wiese is letting his name stand as a candidate for the vacant Westlock County Division 3 seat.
Initially Wiese said he wasn’t planning on running, but was overwhelmed with calls from friends and neighbours. In fact, the 60 signatures on his Nomination Day papers were collected by his supporters.
“When there’s that many people showing support for you … I guess I view this as my civic duty to run,” said Wiese.
Wiese, whose family has lived in the county for 99 years, feels it’s time for the county to take a hard look at its budgeting process.
He said he feels the county does its yearly budgets in a piecemeal fashion and fails to account for projects through the year. “They do a budget and then right away they come and need some money for a new tractor or something,” he said.
What precisely is wrong within the county office that allows that to happen is something he doesn’t know, Wiese said, but he suspects a breakdown in information transmission from the county administration and the councillors.
It’s at the point that he feels the administration needs to be restructured.
When it comes to services, Wiese said the roads are a concern. Yet even when talking about the roads, he can’t stop himself from returning to what he feels is the root cause of the problem.
“The No. 1 issue is obviously roads for everybody,” he said. “But unless you know where the money’s going and where it’s getting spent and where it’s getting allocated, you can’t even start to work on the roads.”
He went on to say that over the past 15 years councillors have run and been elected with vows to fix the roads, but nothing has been done, making him wonder why the lack of progress.
“You’ve got to look beyond the roads. You’ve got to look at the process.”
As a business owner, Wiese said he plans to “bring new ideas and a strong financial background” to the council table if he is elected.
One of the tenets of that approach is a desire to change how council is composed.
He would like to see council reduced to five councillors from its current seven. With a population of close to 6,000, he feels having seven councillors is too many for such a small group.
Wiese would also like to see the divisions abolished and have all councillors run at large, with the idea being a better quality of candidate will be elected.
Another reason he would like to scrap the divisions is that he remembers what things were like in the past. In the 1940s, Wiese’s grandfather was a councillor. At that time, each division had its own budget and was responsible for its own services.
“There’s no point having divisions anymore, it’s an outdated policy that they’ve just kind of stuck with,” he said.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.