Dwight Hickey is a Red Deer mayoral candidate.
We need to restore our downtown to prosperity. Tax abatement programs help struggling business property owners to invest in our city’s core. Stop tax penalties, and reverse any collected during the pandemic, people have a hard enough time right now paying their bills at all. Tax relief is the first step, the right step to help reboot. Subsidies for start up businesses, with contracts to ensure that the funds are spent on business development in our downtown. Downtown limits need to be redefined as they are now, not as they historically were. Broaden the tax base, resulting in lowered taxes for the over-taxed sectors of our downtown, to strengthen the tax base. We need downtown to have a voice, a real voice that they all can participate in, a digital forum, where everyone can post their ideas. Bring safety back to our Downtown, people are scared. I want a proper downtown security force to aid with law enforcement officers.
Transparency in spending from City Hall. Financial numbers on spending on not being properly posted or reported. Raw data to calculate the real funds spent. Lumping groups of payees together is not acceptable. We need itemized lists of what institutions, that are outside of the City of Red Deer’s direct employment, are being financed by the City of Red Deer, and for how much. More is better when it comes to financial data sets for the public. People must be able to see whether their taxes are going to good use, or not.
We need a Civic Police Force. Keeping an eye on Red Deer as a whole. Red Deer would have say as to where postings of officers should be located within our city. Less officer turnover would be an asset to our retention of talent. RCMP would still have federal jurisdiction as Peace Officers. We need to get a handle on the property crime in our city, it has now spread to all areas, and the current setup has done little to end it. Federal Police are not sufficient to deal with civic matters, civic police are needed here now.
Housing for the homeless. Housing for them should be included in developments. Apartment blocks should be purpose built to accommodate needs, with integrated Social Workers to help them. Not all homeless are addicts.
We need proper facilities do deal with addicts, that are kept away from our Downtown, business parks, or existing residential communities. These must contain a medical treatment component, by medical professionals.
We need to restructure the Downtown Business Association. They have done very little to revive our Downtown. It is a useless program in its current structure. This organization currently stands another do nothing tax for struggling businesses.
We need to improve medical facilities, increase capacity & service, and eliminate the need to travel to Edmonton or Calgary for medical needs. We need full service now. We need new health units, and improved Provincial partnerships to finance projects.
We need jobs, local jobs, well paid jobs, secure jobs, full-time jobs. Business development is vital to our local economy.
I want to bring these things into reality for our fine City of Red Deer.
Roadways need to be streamlined, and connected properly to end the convoluted travel paths in many areas of Red Deer.
I am a downtown Red Deer businessman for 29 years, and a resident of Red Deer for 39 years. I am raising my family here. I care deeply about our city, as it is my hometown, my life, and work is here in Red Deer. Make our city safe for life and work.