October 22nd, 2017

Moritz says city must grow, or fall behind


By Collin Gallant on October 6, 2017.


cgallant@medicinehatnews.com
@CollinGallant

Immanuel Moritz says the time is right for him to move from an observer of politics to a city council seat with a pro-growth agenda he says will be accountable to residents.

“I’ve always liked politics, talking to people and getting their viewpoints — I usually have a viewpoint and I like to see what people think,” said Moritz, a prolific writer of letters to the editor and a former school board trustee.

“I’ve been here a long time and I’d like to see the community grow, and I’d like to see us do a better job of keeping young people here.”

Moritz, 62, is one of 19 candidates vying for eight seats as councillor in the Oct. 16 municipal election.

Now retired from his contracting business, Moritz sat for 10 years on the city’s municipal planning commission. He served two terms as trustee with Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education.

“It’s not entirely altruistic,” he said. “Part and parcel of being on the school board because my grand kids were in school. They’re 17 now, and I want them to have reasons to stay here.”

As a builder he said he understands businesses and would like to improve conditions in the city.

He says Medicine Hat is lagging behind other Alberta cities, and that can’t continue.

“If you don’t grow, you’re falling behind,” he said.

In terms of governance, he says the council’s effort to make up millions of dollars in the budget has produced mixed results for residents, including recent trouble with transit changes.

“It almost seems like they’ve forgotten who they work for,” said Moritz.

“Because of where the economy’s been at, they’ve focused on the money — the fact that we’ve lost the (energy) dividend. But you have to talk to the people that are paying you.”

The city is wrestling with low prices in its energy units, which used to provide $23 million to the operating budget. City hall is in year one of a 10-year plan to contain costs and raise revenue to fill the gap.


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