Dylan Bressey – Knowledge, Skills, and Work Ethic

Candidate Name: Bressey, Dylan
Why did you decide to run for office?

I am running because we live in an awesome community that’s been very good to my family. I want to do my part to keep Grande Prairie great and I see opportunities to make it even better. I also see significant challenges coming before our city. I want to roll up my sleeves and help Grande Prairie continue to thrive. I believe I have the knowledge, skills, and work ethic to do so.

What experience do you have with municipal government, in Grande Prairie or elsewhere?

I started the Grande Prairie Disc Golf Club. To get a course approved and funded, I had to approach Council. To get it built, I had to work closely with our Parks department. I am also a board member of my neighbourhood association which collaborates with the City. I’ve worked with the City through my volunteer roles.

This experience was useful. But I wanted to be sure I fully understood how the City works. Over the past year, I have watched every Council meeting and read every document presented to Council. I have gone down to City Hall to observe many Council Committee meetings. I’ve asked lots of questions to all members of Council, many City employees, and tonnes of citizens. I’ve also taken graduate level university courses on public governance. I have done everything I can to learn about how our municipal government works.

If elected, your term will run until 2021. What do you want Grande Prairie to look like four years from now?

I have proposed four strategic focuses for City Council. You can read them at www.voteBressey.ca/strategic. Here are the focus areas and the preferred futures they represent:

Connecting Our Community: Grande Prairie is a community where people know their neighbours and where new people feel welcomed and engaged. We are pedestrian friendly with an abundance of accessible gathering places. The City’s unique festivals, events, and artistic traditions are carefully presented to draw people together. Our community’s volunteers find it easy to pursue the causes they are passionate about. People know what Council is talking about and feel they have influence on its decisions. All residents feel pride and ownership in their city.

Working as a Region: The City of Grande Prairie efficiently meets community needs by working in close partnership with its regional neighbours. We strongly cooperate with other municipalities to develop our economy, infrastructure, and people. We have successfully negotiated equitable Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs) with the County and others. On the political and administrative levels, City leaders have friendly and fruitful collaboration with their counterparts in other nearby municipal governments. Grande Prairie and surrounding areas are seeing increased revenue and quality of life due to a growing regional economy.

Citizen Service: Residents feel cared for and well served whenever they interact with the City. People find it easy to know what is happening in Grande Prairie. Companies find it easy to do business in and with the City of Grande Prairie. Our taxpayers and ratepayers are confident that they get a good return on what they pay. City employees are empowered and respected by Council and management, and it shows in the way they interact with the public.

Growing for the Future: Grande Prairie is prepared for the future. City Council demonstrates governance excellence through leadership and setting clear direction. We maximize our existing infrastructure while reducing our impact on the environment. At the same time, we are building new infrastructure adequate to meet anticipated growth. We are a regional hub for technology and innovation. We capitalize on and respond to current trends while keeping our eyes to future possibilities. In our planning, we are aware of and responsive to likely technological evolutions. Our employers attract and retain highly skilled individuals from across the country. Opportunities for education allow our citizens to prepare themselves for the future. Our social services are prepared to meet future demands.

The average property tax bill in Grande Prairie is about $3,500. If we use the percentages from the 2016 Taxpayer Information handout and set aside the portion for schools, that means we use that homeowner’s taxes in this way

 

 

To explain some of the labels

Corporate Services include things such as information technology, facility maintenance, and finance.

City Manager’s Office includes communications, human resources, and legislative services, among others.

Community Living looks after transit, the Eastlink Centre, Coca-Cola Centre, Heritage, Parks, and Recreation

Community Safety and Growth covers fire, RCMP, enforcement services, transportation, engineering, inspection, and planning.

 

How would you like to see that money allocated among those uses?

Our next Council will be looking at a few different budgets prepared by administration. I want to see what those look like before commenting on what percentage of our money should be spent in each area. However, here are some comments about each category:

  • Corporate Services: Our buildings, fleet, IT infrastructure, etc. are the basic bones on which the City is built. I don’t want to see us cutting down services in this category. However, this is also likely to be the category with the most potential savings from efficiency. I want us to make sure we are getting maximum utility from this budget category.

  • Debt Servicing: We always need to keep our eye on debt. This is especially important as our provincial and federal governments get into more and more debt. I would love to see us lower our debt levels. I certainly do not think we can afford to substantially increase them.

  • City Manager: This is an area I could see myself supporting an increase to. I want us to do a better job with communication and customer service. Doing so will likely require a few more centralized staff positions.

  • Community Living: This category has the most potential to find savings through regional collaboration. A significant portion of this is also going towards the Eastlink Centre- I am optimistic we are on the right track to lower its cost of operations. I believe that we can lower this budget category without sacrificing services.

  • Community Safety: This is another area that I do not support cutting services to. Any savings need to be found through enhanced efficiency and regional collaboration. Additionally, the biggest expense in this category is our RCMP. We pay for our own detachment while the detachments of other municipalities are paid for by the province. This creates inequities, and we need to advocate to the provincial government for change.

 

To learn more about my approach to budgets, checkout www.voteBressey.ca/taxes. To find out about the potential of regional collaboration, checkout www.voteBressey.ca/icfs.

 

Many candidates talk about change but what do you think is working well in the city; what would you want to keep the same?

I love this questions! I really do believe that our City is awesome. There are so many things I support. Highlights include:

  • Investment in Muskoseepi Park and other gathering places.

  • Naming of the Mamawe Concourse and other efforts to build bridges with our indigenous community.

  • Increased funding to RCMP for drug unit, crime reduction unit, crime analyst and several civilian support positions.

  • Working to grow our industrial and commercial tax base.

  • Investment in Neighbourhood Association and other avenues of citizen engagement.

We conducted a survey that identified Crime and Public Safety, Taxes, and Economic Growth as the top three issues for residents. What are your thoughts on those issues?

Public Safety: We need to invest in policing and advocate for mental health care. But public safety is also a big reason I am talking about “connection.” It is a vital tool for mental health and crime prevention. People are less likely to get into and more likely to recover from trouble if they are part of a strong community. We have many non-profits doing vital work; they need continued support. Our social problems don’t end or begin at the city’s limits; in addressing them, we need to partner with other municipalities. Finally, Council needs to be out in the community to learn how best to guide and resource our intervention strategies. Connection if vital to community safety and crime prevention. To read more about what I mean by “connection,” check out www.voteBressey.ca/connected.

Taxes: Getting taxes down is a clear priority I have heard from the public. Our new Council needs to hit the ground running with clear ideas on how to do this. You can see some of my ideas at www.voteBressey.ca/taxes.

Economic Development: Expanding our industrial and commercial tax base is vital to our long term sustainability. I want to streamline our regulatory processes and increase our customer service to encourage this sort of development. We also live in an entrepreneurial, ingenuitive, resource rich community. I want to see Council do everything it can to encourage innovation in our local businesses.

When voters ask “Why should I vote for you?”, what’s your answer?

Council is a team. And any team is best when it is diverse. I bring some distinctives that will serve Council well.

I am Grande Prairie’s median age with the knowledge and experience needed to do this job well.

I am a director for a charity that relies on fundraising. I am used to managing and being transparent with a budget made up of others’ hard earned resources. I also understand the non-profit sector. It is an important part of our community and economy: Council needs to know how to partner with it.

I’ve been in Grande Prairie for six years. I’m fully immersed in this community and I understand how it works. At the same time, I vividly remember being offered a job here and showing up with a moving truck. With 20% of our population being made up of new residents, this is a vital perspective for Council to have.

I’ve also shown I will work hard through my campaign: I’ve knocked on over 2200 doors, written extensively on multiple policy issues, and started the GP Round Table group. I’ve also prepared myself for the work of Council. I’ve gotten coffee with tonnes of knowledgeable people while and read hundreds of documents. Finally, I have spent a year watching every Council meeting and observing many committee meetings.

I hope you will vote for me so that I can apply my knowledge and experience to working hard for you.

 

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