Last night’s All Candidates Meeting in Highlands East had the burning issue of money on everyone’s mind. From questions about attracting local businesses, the effect of the OPP billing model, to municipal spending. Haliburton Chamber of Commerce reported about 150 people in attendance at last night’s meeting to hear from all their candidates.

‘Jobs’ was one of the buzz words at last night’s Highlands East All Candidates Meeting. Reeve candidate Steve Consentino who came under fire for not being a permanent Highlands East resident, said confidence needs to be put back into our municipality so businesses will want to be a part of it. Dave Burton said he’s been a part of the processes for the past 8 years to attract jobs to the area and wants to work on retaining what they have. Burton said he plans to continue working 24/7 for people on the ground in Highlands East, which can’t be done from Whitby, making reference to where his competitor currently lives. Consentino said if he is elected he will be moving to Highlands East.

The following is the list of candidates in the election:

Reeve

  • Dave Burton
  • Steve Cosentino

Councilor Ward 1

  • Steve Kauffeldt
  • Cam McKenzie

Councilor Ward 2

  • Suzanne Partridge
  • Adam Szelei

Councilor Ward 3

  • Cecil Ryall
  • Donna Graham

Councilor Ward 4

  • Joan Barton
  • Todd Bertram

Candidates were also called to answer for municipal spending with the doom of rising OPP costs. New candidates coming in stuck to their guns, saying the municipality is spending too much money on consultants and lawyers. Consentino said getting rid of councilor benefits is something worth looking at to reduce costs. Councilors seeking re-election, Suzanne Partridge, Steve Kauffeldt and Joan Barton all said teamwork will have to come into play to take a hard look at reductions in next year’s budget. Dave Burton, who’s seeking re-election for Reeve said he believes they’ve been fair in keeping taxes in line and will be challenged to do it with less.