A former mayor of Belleville will run again for the city council’s top job.
Thursday afternoon, Neil Ellis, alongside his wife Sue, filed his nomination papers at city hall.
Ellis was born and raised in Belleville and raised his family here and says he wants to be a part of the city’s
“Over my terms as mayor I ran on a lot of things I see happening now, that were decided when I was mayor, and that our and my council were able to solve that.”
Ellis tells Quinte News that a lot of Belleville city councils have been somewhat dysfunctional with the exception of those that he led between 2006 and 2014.
He called current Mayor Mitch Panciuk’s leadership style as top-down.
Ellis says a 2019 Integrity Commissioner’s report finding that Mayor Panciuk had breached council’s Code of Conduct by exerting undue pressure in the hiring of a city employee is an example of what he considers poor leadership.
Panciuk, who is running again to be mayor, immediately apologized after that Integrity Commissioner’s report was issued.
Ellis said the current mayor showed bad judgement voting in favour of appointing a councillor to replace the late Pat Culhane instead of just choosing the next person in line from the last election.
Ellis said he would have voted to go to the results to appoint Tyler Allsopp immediately.
Discussing infrastructure, Ellis tells Quinte News the city’s wastewater plant needs an overhaul that could cost nearly $100 million and that waterfront development needs a boost because Myers Pier is “ready to fall into the water”, a job he expects would cost north of $30 million.
He says he wants to lead a council that works to get the projects done with little or no effect on local ratepayers.
Meanwhile another big issue for Ellis is an ongoing one.
“Doctor recruitment. Right now we again have around 10,000 orphaned patients and in this (city) budget there’s about two doctors a year and in my first year on council we had 13 and I think it’s time to ramp things up and run it out of the mayor’s office.”
After leaving local politics, Ellis was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte riding in 2015, leaving federal politics after being defeated by Conservative Ryan Williams last year.