What is the role of a city councillor?

Have you wondered about just what a city councillor’s role is? Wonder no more.  Let me explain a bit about my duties.  I am one of two city councillors for Otonabee Ward (Ward 1) in the city of Peterborough who represent the residents who live and/or work in the ward.

City councillors attend general committee and city council meetings and we also sit on various boards and committees to help govern agencies whose activities are funded by, and provide services to, our tax payers

As a city councillor, I also meet regularly with local residents, community groups and organizations to discuss issues and hear concerns.  I meet with residents as often as I can and hold public meetings to let them know about what is happening in the ward and to get their comments and input on issues of concern, whether in the ward or city-wide.

Kim Zippel and Marie Bongard discussing the issues at the Hide-A-Way restaurantCity council sets all policies for the city and approves all procedures and major budgets. City staff propose city business through reports and recommend that certain projects be done, but city council makes the final decision whether or not to proceed and can make changes to staff recommendations.

It is my job as a city councillor to review all reports and recommendations made by city staff from the various departments and to make decisions based on that information in addition to receiving input from the public. I also make suggestions and take community concerns to staff about many things in the ward that impact your daily life including transportation, recreation, and environmental issues.

The city’s recently updated website now has a feature for residents to email their concerns and questions about common issues such as potholes, sidewalks, streetlights that need repair, recycling, and tree problems.  Visit www.peterborough.ca and click on the ‘Report an Issue’ link.

Another important point to emphasize is that city staff work at city hall on the day-to-day issues facing the city.  City councillors’ roles are part-time and we do not work at city hall as many of us have other jobs and work commitments.  However, the mayor’s role is a full-time one and the mayor does have an office at city hall.

If you have any questions about the role of your councillor, give me a call, or ask by tweet @OtonabeeWard


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