WESTLOCK – With sights set on a balanced budget and transparency, David Woynorowski has thrown his lot in as a candidate for Division 5 in the Oct. 18 municipal election for Westlock County.
Woynorowski, who currently lives on a farm and operates two management consulting businesses, ran in the 2019 byelection but finished behind Isaac Skuban, who has also announced that he will be running again.
On his radar is working the county out of what he calls a financial hole. With spending up and revenue not keeping pace, Wonoynorowski says that the current council's solution of tax increases is not sustainable.
“We dug ourselves into a fairly significant financial hole, there’s not strategy for getting out of it, and raising our taxes continually, and that’s been 13 per cent over the past four years for all tax categories and 25 per cent for land, is even remotely sustainable. I would say it’s ridiculous,” said Woynorowski.
Born and raised in Westlock before moving to Edmonton for 35 years, Wonynorowski says that his solution to starting a financial plan is to reorganize county priorities with fire protection, law enforcement, and waste management at the top of the list followed by road maintenance and other maintenance.
“We have to focus on our priorities and cut some of the lower priorities that ratepayers say they don’t really need.”
With the county’s taxes being among the highest in the province, additional taxation is not an option in Woynorowski’s eyes.
“Continually increasing our rate of taxation when we are already the highest tax rate on farmland in all of Alberta and constantly taking on more debt is not the solution. We need to lean out the ship and make some cuts to lower priorities.”
Transparency from the county is another key target for Wonynorowski, who has been highly critical of the transparency regarding the Tawatinaw Valley Ski Hill contract. He says that it is important to keep an open line of communication with residents of the county and business done behind closed doors is unacceptable.
Woynoroski has also been highly critical of council for voting for a pay raise while the county coffers suffered. He says that if elected, he will not accept any pay increases for the four-year term.
“This previous council during their term voted themselves wage increases and voted senior management increases. In our current financial situation, I think that’s not a wise move. Whatever the salary is on Day 1, if I get elected, will be my salary for the next four years. Period. My primary motivation is not money, it’s giving back to the county and trying to help them out of the financial situation we are in.”
He has also offered to conduct a survey 18 months into his term, paid for out of his own pocket, to review his performance. Woynoroski also offered to step down if a majority of those surveyed believe him to be unable to uphold his promises.
“We need to balance the needs and the wants of the county.”