Niagara Gazette

Opinion

June 7, 2013

GUEST VIEW: The purpose of local government

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Increased home ownership enhances a community and instills in its citizens a sense of “ownership” in the community as a whole. Home ownership expands the tax base and provides city government with a reliable source of revenue. Therefore, local government has the responsibility to establish an efficient and effective program of community development that has as its first priority the renovation of the existing housing stock and the creation of affordable new housing.

The City Council is responsible for enacting the local laws that protect residents and improve the quality of life in our community. This means that an individual who serves on the City Council must invest the time necessary to fully understand the structure and functioning of the various city departments. A member of the city council has the duty to use this knowledge not to micro-manage the department’s staff, but, rather, to develop new standards of performance that provide the community with the highest level of service for every tax dollar expended.

Most importantly, the city council must engage in an honest and realistic assessment of the mayor’s proposed budget. This annual activity is probably the most important responsibility entrusted to the city council. Each member of the council must guard against using the annual budget process as a weapon of retaliation because of differences of opinion that arise between the legislative and executive branches of government. If I’m elected, I’m sure we will be able to work together to positively change our future for the better.

Andrew Touma is a Niagara Falls resident and candidate for the Niagara Falls City Council.

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