Mark Dyrholm

Survey Responses:


Question 1.1:

Do you think municipal taxes should:

a) Reduce in absolute terms
b) Reduce in real terms (grow, but slower than inflation)
c) Reduce in relative terms (grow, but slower than inflation plus population growth)
d) Stay the same (grow, but only in line with inflation plus population growth)
e) Increase a bit (grow in line with the city’s Municipal Price Index)
f) Increase more (grow faster than the city’s Municipal Price Index)

 

Answer 1.1 [Choose One]:

a) Reduce in absolute terms


Question 1.2:

Comments?

 

Answer/Comments 1.2:

An immediate and absolute small tax cut is mandatory to correct for the increases taken at a time when Calgarians could least afford it. However, as the economy improves and Calgarians displaced by the last downturn return to work, the tax base will need to grow, but slower than inflation. When Calgary returns to being an economic powerhouse, only then should taxes rise and only just shy of the inflation and population growth rates. I will constantly look for more efficient ways to deliver services and infrastructure as a cost control strategy.


Question 2.1:

Would you vote in favour of allocating any tax dollars or giving any subsidy towards a new stadium/arena?

 

Answer 2.1 [Yes/No Only]:

[No Answer Provided]


Question 2.2:

If yes, how much and in what form would these taxes take (direct cash, land, subsidy, indirect, etc), and why do you support public dollars being directed towards a corporation?

 

Answer/Comments 2.2:

The Arena is a big issue in this election. Unfortunately both sides are debating the issue like it is the 1950s. The city needs to look at how they can capture the intangibles that the Flames bring and only put the burden on people that benefit from the Flames, not spread it over all the taxpayers. The flames on the other hand need to acknowledge that no building supports itself when it is only in partial use. Real-estate costs will only go up in this city so let’s build a venue for the future not for today. A visionary building will create more revenue by serving more than one purpose. Tell me one business that could survive if its building was only in use 3 days a week 4 hours at a time.


Question 3.1:

Recent research on Calgary’s City Council found that council spends nearly a quarter of its’ time meeting in private (in camera). Do you agree that this is too much time spent in private?

 

Answer 3.1 [Yes/No Only]:

Yes.


Question 3.2:

If so, what would you do to fix this? Which topics do you believe should be discussed behind closed doors and why?

 

Answer/Comments 3.2:

I am a firm believer in open and transparent government. First we should dramatically reduce in camera sessions, only using them when necessary.  Sometimes there are sensitive issues that need to be discussed and negotiations regarding future development within our city. However, once the issues are resolved, the minutes of in camera council meetings should be made public. The date for publication should be set in the very motion to go in camera so it is easy for the public to monitor.

Only issues where federal or provincial privacy legislation apply would in camera sessions not be eventually disclosed to the public. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.


Question 4.1:

From the $470,000 Blue Ring, to the $236,000 for a “Poop Palace”, and now another $500,000 for Bowfort Towers, council has consistently failed to engage with Calgarians about which public Art projects their tax dollars are spent on. Do you support continuing to use taxpayer dollars to fund art projects for the city?

 

Answer 4.1 [Yes/No Only]:

No. 


Question 4.2:

If yes, why do you think council and administration have repeatedly failed on this issue, and what guidelines should be used to ensure Calgarians are happy with the results in future?

 

Answer/Comments 4.2:

Let me be clear, in my experience bureaucracy is about MINIMUM standards. Over time bureaucratic process does not lead to excellence and eventually, it stops it.

Firstly, in a time when Calgarians are struggling, I call for a moratorium on the public art component of the infrastructure budget.

Secondly, let me clarify why bureaucratic art is bad.

 Roads, bridges and transportation should be primarily about safety and moving people and goods. Art is designed to be looked at - if it is not to be seen what is the point? Is the city telling Calgarians that as we drive we should be looking off to the side of the road for an artistic experience?

Art is designed to be experienced, and have an impact on the observer. I recently went to get a personal picture near the blue ring. As far as I could tell I would have to break traffic laws to do so.

The current bureaucratic process regarding art is not just controversial it is bad. Identifying problems is easy. Solutions are harder. I would suggest that the art should become citizen based, not at the individual community level but at the Ward level. Each city public art dollar should be divided amongst the 14 Wards. Then the residents and councillor would develop experiential art projects that truly enriched their local areas.

How many more people would be enriched by an artistic experiential walk & playground in large park regions? Let the art be experienced by local citizens both in the creation and the appreciation.

Other areas of the city will develop themes that suit them.

I love the idea of public/private partnerships for art projects. To support that the city could set up a charity designed to support these public art projects that donors could get charitable receipts for contributing. A project that attracts local money not just ‘other (government) money’ is much more likely to be impactful on the citizens.

Emotionally art should be experienced.

Safety wise art should not distract from driving. Fiscally, public art funding should stand up to the light of day and in best practice have some private money follow the transaction.


Question 5:

How can council support small businesses?

 

Answer 5:

Calgary is over regulated, over taxed and inefficient in the eyes of the small business owner. Permits approving new projects and those to operate new businesses can take up to a year or more to be issued. Heavy handed regulations stymie innovative ideas. By reducing the baggage that comes with opening a new business and growing current ones, we prosper and new jobs are created. The small business sector is the greatest job creation engine in Canada.

City construction projects continually block roads and access to small businesses. The city does not coordinate with these business owners leaving them to fend for themselves when projects are announced that will potentially be an assassin's bullet to small business, which will also kill the jobs of their employees.


Question 6.1:

Do you support the current plan for construction of the Green Line?

 

Answer 6.1 [Yes/No Only]:

[No Answer Provided]


Question 6.2:

The construction of the Green Line was approved based on a cost-benefit analysis that assumed the project would be completed two years earlier than now projected, and at a lower construction cost for the entire line than is now estimated for half of the line. If the costs increase again or the project is further delayed, would you continue to support it, and why?

 

Answer/Comment 6.2:

This project has grown exponentially in its cost to Calgarians. It is as if the City of Calgary has been given a blank cheque book and the original plan has been scrapped in favour of a reduced service area. As a management graduate and business owner, I understand the concepts of project planning and controls very well. I will continue to support this LRT line if the city can get the runaway costs under control. Proper planning and control practices must be implemented for the Green Line to be both a fiscal and user success. The original plan failed and further deterioration will occur if efficiency and accountability are not demanded and put into the very structure of any ongoing process. I have the skills to do this, it is not a job for politicians an show.


Question 7.1:

In July, City Council voted against a motion to hold a referendum/plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics bid. Do you support holding a referendum / plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics bid?

 

Answer 7.1 [Yes/No Only]:

No.


Question 7.2:

Why do you support/oppose a public vote? Should the results of a vote should be binding?

 

Answer/Comment 7.2:

I say no to a pleblicite because I have had the meetings and done the research to make a fully informed decision, which is what the job of councillor is. I know the Olympics are bad investment for Calgary based on the current numbers. Most recent Olympic Games have lost money, some billions. The IOC has not been a good business partner in most cases. I would vote no to host the games and if the city was moving towards hosting them, I would want a referendum held on the issue.