Name: Henry Braun
Party affiliation (if any): n/a
Education: Graduated Abbotsford Senior Secondary School (1968).
Occupation: Retired President & C.E.O. of Abbotsford-based Pacific Northern Rail Contractors Corp. (PNR Railworks), Canada’s largest privately held railway/transit construction company, employing 350 people. Currently involved in passive real estate investment companies, purebred Hereford breeder and co-owner in a 500 commercial cow/pair ranching operation.
Previous political experience: Abbotsford City Council (2011 -2014)
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Abbotsford
Recipient of the “Order of Abbotsford”, 2008
Canada Place Corporation – Board of Directors, 2009 – 2011
Trinity Western University – School of Business Advisory Board
Abbotsford Airport Authority – Vice Chairman, 2004 – 2007
Fraser Valley Regional Transportation Committee, 2003 – 2004
Abbotsford Economic Development Commission, 2000 – 2007
Organized Crime Agency of BC – Board of Directors, 1999 – 2001
Abbotsford Police – Board of Directors, 1993 – 1998
Sevenoaks Alliance Church – Board of Elders (served four, 3 year terms), 1990 – 2011
District of Matsqui Economic Development Commission, 1989 – 1990
Abbotsford Track & Field Club – President, 1986 – 1989, led amalgamation with Valley Royals Track & Field Club
Marital status/children: Married 43 years (three children).
Social media: www.henrybraun.ca, Facebook, Twitter: HenryBraun2014
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1. Providing a long-term solution to the city’s homeless situation.
2. Implementing higher levels of accountability and transparency into city government.
3. Building trust with taxpayers by ensuring fiscal responsibility.
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
Increasingly complex social challenges require coordination between multiple social ministries of government and community. The Homelessness Task Force reiterates what has been known and we must now facilitate and implement what needs to be done. We need to:
-approve a Housing First project (2 or 3 of these projects are necessary for a city of our size).
-convince BC Housing that we deserve a third chance regarding the provincial funding that was available to us.
-convince Fraser Health that an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team is of paramount importance. ACT Teams are funded by the province in order to provide health and mental assessments and services for people who live on our streets.
-plug into this city’s entrepreneurial talent pool to explore alternative housing solutions that our community service providers can explore.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
– Hold members of Council personally accountable for remaining within government’s budget.
– Construct a balanced scorecard to include a process for gaining community consensus on a “quality of life” index which all Abbotsfordians can use for measuring the performance of its government.
– Annually release the costs – salary, benefits and expenses – of each employee and Council member.
– Ensure that all employee contractual agreements are readily accessed on the City’s website.
– Provide citizen’s appealing staff decisions with the name and contact information for the next level of appeal at the beginning of the meeting.
– Establish an employee evaluation policy based on systematic reviews of job performance.
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
Lower the differential property tax rate ratio between commercial and residential property owners from the current ratio of 2.6:1 to 2.0:1. Reducing this ratio will attract businesses into Abbotsford’s many vacant commercial spaces thereby increasing the number of businesses paying property taxes and off-set the loss of revenues from reducing the ratio. Increasing the number of businesses in the community has the added benefit of decreasing the unacceptably high unemployment for our citizens.
Minimize risk for the time when interest rates will increase by reducing the almost $33M debt (of the almost $103M total) that is not subject to penalties incurred by making advanced payments. This pay-down of debt can be accomplished without increasing property taxes or user fees by finding efficiencies in government by extending the life cycle of our asphalt roads and reducing the unnecessary sidewalk and curb replacement program.