Dartmouth Centre Candidate Sam Austin says the request for a staff report
considering a $200 transit and recreation subsidy for all seniors should
be amended to consider offering a subsidy based on need.
“Helping seniors in need access services should be a priority, but there
are others who need help as well,” says Austin. “With this motion,
Councillor Smith is only looking at one specific group of people. We need
to ensure all HRM residents have access to services.”
Councillor Jim Smith’s motion instructs municipal staff to look at
offering a subsidy to all seniors over age 65. Austin would like to see
this amended to have HRM consider providing the subsidy based on income.
“Some seniors have done quite well and are happy to continue contributing
fully towards the cost of city services when they want to use them – and I
thank them for that attitude. Others are on very fixed incomes and could
use the assistance – but so could the unemployed, the underemployed,
students, single parents, young parents and many other people struggling
in this economy.”
Austin would like a broader mandate that would see staff examine whether a
subsidy based on need is financially viable.
“The city is considering reducing ferry service, transit is hard-pressed
to keep up with demand, and some of our existing recreation centres are
struggling,” says Austin. “With limited resources, we need to make sure we
not only spend our money to help residents, but that we spend it wisely.”