Mayor Bruce Banman has formally announced plans to run again in the November election, maintaining there’s a need for consistency in the mayor’s chair.
The only other candidate who has formally announced a run for mayor to date is Coun. Henry Braun. He and Banman were the only new faces on Abbotsford council following the 2011 election.
A newcomer to politics, Banman gained a surprise victory over first-term mayor George Peary, who was elected to the position after serving as a local councillor and school trustee.
Banman said he wants Abbotsford to move forward in a positive way, and “I believe we need consistency in the mayor’s chair for more than one single term in order to achieve that.”
Banman said that in the last three years, the city has been able to put its financial house in order, adding that he is proud of delivering a zero per cent tax increase in 2014. He said he plans to keep taxes low, and has set a personal goal to be the mayor who reduces taxes in Abbotsford.
He said that in his first term, efforts have been made to increase transparency and efficiency at city hall – but more can be done.
Banman stated that when he became mayor it was common knowledge that a select group of individuals at city hall were making a lot of decisions – many behind closed doors.
“I believe that for far too long, city hall was run by a small, select, exclusive club.”
His stated goals focus on increasing accountability at city hall, as well as fiscal responsibility. He cited the need for the city to make decisions based on the needs and interests of Abbotsford as a whole and not only “special-interest groups.”
Banman added that the city must create the right environment for businesses of all sizes to grow, as well as foster an atmosphere in which jobs are fostered to provide opportunities for local residents.
In the past three years, Banman said he has made tough decisions after asking himself what was the right thing to do for all of Abbotsford. He said the most difficult issue he has faced has been voting against the Abbotsford Community Services low-barrier homeless housing proposal in the downtown.
He thinks “the people of this city, when they look at that in hindsight, will agree that I and the other councillors that voted with me actually made the right choice,” adding that the easy vote was to say yes to the proposal as it stood instead of looking for a solution that was best for the whole community.
Banman said he is proud to have been told that he has done what many people didn’t think happen, which was to effect change within city hall.
He intends to run again in order to “continue the job that I started.”