MAINTAINING independence in the City of Ballarat council chamber is one of the key reasons why south ward councillor Jim Rinaldi is once again putting his hand up for election.
But it's also his determination to help business through the coming months and years of hardships that has the locally raised businessman determined to do what he can for the community.
Without the backing of the major political parties, Cr Rinaldi is financing his own campaign, determined to continue to make a difference and have his voice of the people heard.
"I have a heart for the city. I've lived in the area all my life. Going forward we need to make decisions to enhance our municipality," Cr Rinaldi said.
"I may not have a university degree, but I know the value of hard work and hands-on life experience, I believe I have good common sense."
Cr Rinaldi said the current pandemic and the subsequent financial strain on business and the community couldn't be planned for.
"I am a Commerce Ballarat board member through the council and I'd love to endorse the excellent work Jodie (Gillett) and her team do in this city for the betterment of all business," he said.
"The businesses I have massive empathy for, but that won't pay their wage, so we need to support them. If you're going to talk about a problem, what's the solution? Firstly we need to promote what they are doing, and offer ways, maybe opening up Armstrong Street for on-street dining, how great could that be?"
Cr Rinaldi said he was also keen to see a review of neighbourhood design guidelines so it was clear what was acceptable across the city and also in rural living zones.
On the matter of council operations, he said he was encouraged by the work interim chief executive officer Janet Dore was doing to sift though issues at the City of Ballarat.
"Every area needs to be looked at in council where we can be more productive," he said.
"Every councillor wants to reduce rates, but we ask how do you maintain the services?
"I believe the state government needs to do more heavy lifting in the right areas.
"Mars stadium is an example, 'here's the building, now you service it'. How do we maintain our buildings, upkeep, roads, refurbishing?"
Cr Rinaldi said it was crucial that council worked as a team for the betterment of the whole community.
"Ballarat is in a good position," he said.
"Did we get some things wrong? Yes. But democracy is about having a debate in the chamber and letting people have their say.
"We have a responsibility to listen to the items we are making the decisions on and fully understand the impacts in the best interest of the whole community.
"I will always be a voice for a person who does not think they have one.
"I always answer the phone. It's my role to listen to the community.
"We are elected to represent the people of our community and not our political parties."
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