Stolz back in running for city council

Unseated four years ago, business owner Cameron Stolz is taking another shot at winning a seat on city council.

In a campaign kickoff speech delivered Thursday at Great White Toys and Games, Stolz said he is running to be the voice for small business, to hold the city to better account on spending taxpayers' money and to build a better community.

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Stolz, who was first elected to council in 2008 and re-elected in 2011 before losing out in the 2014 election, criticized the council's decision in 2017 to cut spending on road rehabilitation by $2 million, lowering the total to $5 million per year.

"You wanted better roads and I was proud to work as a champion for that and (it was) where we saw dramatic improvement," he said. "Because it's your money, I would have expected that improvement to continue.

"Unfortunately, just as the city started to get into the rural roads, up in the Hart Highway, College Heights, the city has decided to cut the roads budget this year by over 25 per cent. I consider that unacceptable."

He also took council to task for allowing administrative staff to be paid overtime for the extra hours they put in last summer when the city took in evacuees forced out of their homes by the wildfires.

"In the small business world, if you're on salary and you work overtime, you get time off in lieu for that time you worked or it's just part of your job," Stolz said and went on to say the money paid to staff could have been better spent on improving and establishing new local parks.

The overtime paid to city administration was eventually reimbursed to the city by the provincial government although critics have argued it's still taxpayers' money.

Stolz also played up his accomplishments during the six years he was on council, including his efforts to more assertively deal with derelict buildings and helping to "lay the foundation to fix a huge chunk of our water and sewer infrastructure."

During his time on council, Stolz took a deep interest in the city's finances. He chaired the finance and audit committee and was among those who supported a failed motion to limit increases to the property tax levy to the rate of inflation.

In 2013, he stepped down as chair of the committee after it was discovered he hadn't paid the property taxes on his home. The city allows property owners up to three years grace on the item and Stolz eventually paid what was owed and cited trouble making ends meet due the recession for the delay.

Stolz didn't mention the controversy directly on Thursday but did say there was a time when there was very little left for himself after meeting payroll and paying suppliers.

In 2014, Stolz was one of two incumbents to lose their seats.

General voting day for the civic elections is set for October 20.

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