Ed McPherson Municipal Election Candidate Profile
Ed McPherson has been a member of the Perth Town Council for the past 23 years. He has been the Chair of Finance and Governance Committee since 2006 and served as Acting Deputy Mayor in 2015. Outside of his work as councillor, he has worked as a coach in minor hockey, soccer, and baseball.
McPherson is also Chief of the Lanark County Paramedic Service and serves on local and provincial health care committees.
When asked about the three major issues facing Perth that Council can influence, these were his answers:
In 2006 when appointed to Chairman of Finance, I recognized that the town would need to re-evaluate the way it budgeted in order to ensure financial stability. My goal was to control spending in order to prevent higher tax increases in the future. With my responsibility to develop the annual budget I recommended that Council adopt a “Strategic Budget Guideline”. This 10 year plan would see future tax increases tied to the annual Consumer Price Index, long term debt would be eliminated and future borrowing would be severely restricted. The goal was to “live within our financial means” while we built up our financial reserves which would make Perth an affordable place to live.
The plan is working well as Perth has kept all tax increases at or below the CPI since 2011(in 2017 Perth had a zero percent tax increase) and Perth is now meeting and exceeding provincial financial benchmarks. All long term debt will be paid off by the end of 2018 and our projections are that we will have $5 million in reserves.
In the last several years, the town has been able to complete major work on our facilities and infrastructure while at the same time providing grants to downtown business owners to assist them with renovations to their buildings. All of this has been achieved with low tax increases.
In 2018 I co-developed a formal Budget Spending policy that was accepted by Council and will serve as the blueprint for future spending. With these initiatives I feel that Perth will remain in a strong financial position.
Keeping in mind that the median household income in Perth is $52,000.00, the town will need to review its strategic plan in order to update its goals on economic development in the areas of attracting new types of business to town. Keeping and attracting our younger generation of workers should become a greater focus as we cannot continue to rely solely on tourism and retirement to maintain our financial stability. The formation of a new committee focusing on economic development ideas should be pursued by Council.
Increasing Housing for various income levels
The town will also have to review its ability to attract developers who can build homes and apartments that are affordable to the citizens of Perth as not all of our citizens can afford some of the housing currently on sale. The Council should form a working group to discuss and evaluate all options open to it.
In regards to the last question, I do not own or operate a commercial or industrial business in Perth.