Pullia Outlines Development Vision – Chronicle Journal Candidates Corner –
As Councillor at Large, I have engaged extensively with our community and the general consensus is that Thunder Bay citizens are looking for a clear sense of direction for the future of Thunder Bay from a Mayor that can lead Council and our community by articulating and executing a vision that is built on our values and aspirations and guided through transformational leadership.
Our citizens want a community that is united, environmentally sustainable, progressive and livable, and a great place to raise a family or retire. While much work still remains to be done, we have laid a strong foundation and the 2017 Money Sense Magazine ranking of the “Most Livable Cities in Canada” shows a big improvement from N. 109 out of 223 cities in 2014 (somewhere in the middle) to N. 97 out of 417 in 2017 (top 24 percent). I strongly believe that we can bring Thunder Bay in the top 10 percent in Canada within the next term of Council.
A key priority of mine has been and will continue to be to keep our taxes low and reduce the cost of operations while maintaining and/or increasing investment in infrastructure and services. These are the guiding principles that I ran on this term of council and have helped our city move from three years of deficits to three years of budget surpluses while investing in services and infrastructure like roads, a new pothole machine, a new ambulance and lift bus to help seniors with mobility issues, and many, many more.
While some detractors would like us to believe that the sky is falling and others that everything is rosy, the reality is somewhere in between. In fact, an annual independent assessment by the Global Credit Agency Standard & Poor, raised our credit rating in 2017 to AA and maintained its stable, positive outlook for Thunder Bay on June 27, 2018 based on “Strong budgetary performance, effective strong controls, low municipal debt burden, and excellent liquidity balances”. The stable outlook is based on S&P’s expectation that the city will maintain strong budgetary results which will help decrease debt burdens and build up reserve fund balances. The full report can be accessed at https://www.thunderbay.ca/en/city-hall/resources/Documents/FinanceandBudget/
While we control our costs by living within our means, we need to continue to grow our economy through an environment and culture of economic development in the city and region that will identify new opportunities, ensure workforce readiness, attract newcomers and enable us to grow as a community in a healthy and sustainable way. We will accomplish this by bringing all the key stakeholders together that include all orders of government, Indigenous leaders, businesses, the University, College, Chamber of Commerce and other services. The Indigenous people are a unique fabric of our community and the importance of comprehensive consultation and partnership with Indigenous leaders is paramount in shaping the future of Thunder Bay.
Economic growth is only part of the solution. Without the development of an inclusive and collaborative social development strategy, we will fall short in transforming Thunder Bay. We need to build a future that is attentive to the social challenges of our community while acknowledging the need to find new and innovative solutions in making sure that no one is left behind and ensure that Thunder Bay is the kind of city that we can all be proud to call home.
Our Future, Stronger Together.
Frank Pullia, Councillor at Large and Mayoral Candidate