Harald Drewitz has been a fixture at city council meetings for several years, frequently presenting to councillors as a delegation. He has spoken on a number of issues, including the possibility of a casino in the region, natural gas rates, the budget and more.
It was the city’s 2011 budget that first set Drewitz on the council track. He read an article in which Coun. John Gazzola’s calculations showed the tax increase, when the stormwater utility was factored in, was 14.5 per cent.
In August 2012, Drewitz founded the Tax Watch Group. He credits his leadership and the group with helping to bring tax increases down with questions about spending and whether public input surveys were used properly.
If elected, Drewitz, a certified management accountant, says he will push for a full budgetary review and tax increases below inflation. “Let’s do an analysis of what we need to have and what is nice to have and then do a complete review, balance the whole thing and move forward,” he said, noting that there may be programs that are no longer needed, or that overlap with other services provided by the city. He also believes several streets need traffic calming.
Drewitz is concerned with the city’s public engagement process. “Putting information on a website, or a questionnaire on a website, without telling you that the information is even there is not communication,” he said.
“Why is it that so often we citizens of Kitchener don’t know what’s going on until after it has happened? After the fact, as opposed to as it is going on when they can take corrective action.”
As a certified management accountant who worked at Budd Canada for 30 years, 25 of those as a manager, Drewitz believes he has budgetary, leadership and diplomatic skills to bring to council. He also says he is not afraid to approach the Region of Waterloo about issues, particularly if he believes the mayor, who sits on regional council, is not representing the interest of constituents.
While Drewitz is pleased with the number of parks in Ward 8, he would like to help the new Boardwalk Neighbourhood Association better establish itself.