Saint John mayoral candidate would tackle city's finances if elected

·3 min read
If elected as mayor, Howard Yeomans plans to expand the Saint John Police Force, as well as the Saint John Fire Department. (Facebook - image credit)
If elected as mayor, Howard Yeomans plans to expand the Saint John Police Force, as well as the Saint John Fire Department. (Facebook - image credit)

For Howard Yeomans, being elected mayor of Saint John would be a chance to help the city he has lived in most of his life.

"I am not looking for anything more than to be able to give back to this great city that I have been fortunate to have earned a living and grow as a person."

Yeomans said he has a lot to offer the people living in the port city. And he's no stranger to budgets.

He said he has worked in accounting, sales and business administration for many businesses across the city.

"I have successfully built achievable budgets for both large and small Saint John companies," said Yeomans, who retired at 65.

I believe that I have what the city needs to help it move forward. - Howard Yeomans, Saint John mayoral candidate

This is the second time Yeomans has run for mayor. He ran in 2016 and received 213 votes, finishing fifth among five candidates.

But Yeomans said this time will be different.

For one thing, he isn't jumping into the election race "last-minute," as he did five years ago.

"I believe that I have what the city needs to help it move forward," he said.

"I am a person of the people, for the people, wishing to represent all Saint John citizens no matter their status in life and also all Saint John businesses, large or small," he said on Facebook.

Focus on finances

If elected, Yeomans said the first thing he would do is tackle the city's finances.

He said the city needs to reduce expenses and bring in new and consistent revenue.

To do this, he would encourage more people from across Canada to move to Saint John to either set up businesses or retire.

He said Saint John space, land and housing can be bought for a lot less than people spend in places like Toronto or Vancouver.

"We have to bring in a new source of revenue and higher taxes isn't going to do it," he said. "And it's certainly not going to encourage anybody to want to come here."

Although he understands there are concerns with the city's budget, Yeomans said he does want to expand fire and police services in Saint John.

This comes as the Saint John Police Force is cutting $1.3 million from its annual budget, as directed by the city.

"If we want people to come here and businesses to invest here, they have to believe that we have the services that are going to best protect them."

He said police and firefighters shouldn't be stretched to the limit when incidents occur.

Candidate grew up 'quite poor'

As a child, Yeomans said, he grew up "quite poor," as did many longtime residents of Saint John.

As a child, he sold newspapers and worked after school and on weekends at the City Market to help provide food for his family, he said. He graduated from Saint John Vocational School and has lived "a modest life since that time."

Yeomans said he has never made a lot of money, but by properly handling his finances, he has been able to own his own home, vacation across Canada and in different countries, and accumulate only minimum debt.

He said he has also helped local businesses rebuild their finances to avoid having to close.

"Everything that helps companies to be successful. … When I go into something, I go into it full-hearted."

Yeomans is running a frugal campaign, even forgoing campaign signs.

"I've been really having people spread the word," said Howard Yeomans. "People telling other people."

Yeomans said he doesn't want residents to worry about how he would spend their money if elected, so he opted out of buying signs. He also didn't want to be obligated to any individuals or companies for supporting his campaign financially.

Beyond his career, Yeomans has sat on various boards, including Gentle PathSa Counselling and the Saint John Home Builders Association.