Council Letter to Citizens, January 2015

Mayor and Council wish you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2015.

Upcoming Changes in the Administration Department:

  1. Marian Carlson, our Chief Administrative Officer for the past 7 years, has resigned her position of CAO effective January 23, 2015. She has successfully competed to become the CAO in Claresholm where she intends to relocate with her husband. Marian has been a strong asset in the organization. She has enjoyed working with the new Council and feels that much has been accomplished this past year. Her wise leadership and broad expertise will be missed by staff and Council. Marian has served the Town for 26 years, starting in clerical positions and skillfully working her way up through the organization. We wish her well and appreciate her strong desire to see us through the transition period. At the first January Council Meeting, Council will appoint an interim CAO. The future appointment of our CAO will follow a fully transparent process and an open competition.
  2. Noell Smith has officially retired from her position as Director of Finance and Administration. Noell has served the Town faithfully and well for the past 27 years. We will miss her as a valuable asset in our administration and wish her well in her retirement years. She will be working part time for a few months along side our new Finance Director, Hakon Skoien, to see us through the 2014 Audit process.

This past year Council has been busy in many areas of involvement. Let me quickly pass the year in review:

  1. Municipal Government Act
    Council has been actively involved in the review of the MGA raising concerns and offering some new perspective on education funding by way of a successful resolution at the AUMA Fall Convention in Calgary.
  2. South Saskatchewan Regional Plan
    All councillors were actively involved in the review of the document, raising questions and seeking answers as to the impact on the revision of Land Use By-Law at the Municipal level.
  3. Strategic Planning
    Council is working diligently at accomplishing the goals set in our Strategic Plan in 2014. In 2015 we will review our plan and improve upon it where needed.
  4. By-Laws Review and Policies
    Council is diligently working on reviewing and updating a certain number of by-laws every year. Council has also established a fair amount of new policies. This is a time consuming but necessary exercise.
  5. Intermunicipal collaboration
    Council has actively supported some Alberta Community Partnership grants with neighboring communities to seek opportunities to improve our efficiencies in delivering services. More information will be shared in the near future.
  6. Plebiscite
    Council delegated power to its citizens to express their desires at the grass root level regarding the local sale of alcohol, the keeping of chickens and fluoride in the town’s water. Council ratified the choices established by the collective voice of the electorate.
  7. Budgets
    The main duty of Council is to establish a budget for the Town. Council approved the 2015 Budget and also approved in principle the 2016 and 2017 budgets. We may need to review our goals depending on the upcoming Provincial budget. Council will continue to adopt a fiscally responsible and sustainable approach to budgeting, especially during these uncertain economic times.
  8. Utility Cost Recovery
    This new Council has ratified past Council’s approach to cost recovery of our utilities. It was a bold move that will bear fruits in the next couple of years. Taxes will no longer subsidize our utilities. They will function as sustainable businesses, having some reserves to deal with ongoing upkeep and renewal of the infrastructure.
  9. Infrastructure
    Council will continue to approve Capital Projects regarding roads, sidewalks and curb upgrades as long as provincial grants are available at sustainable levels. We know these projects can affect traffic patterns and administration will do their best to communicate the planned schedule for these projects to people living in the affected neighborhood. To maximize efficiencies, sewer and water pipes that need replacement are scheduled to be replaced prior to the road being resurfaced.
  10. Economic development and Tourism
    The Town is taking this seriously and will continue to seek opportunities to add businesses or housing development in town. Growth in these areas will be slow but Council will always support worthwhile initiatives that would benefit the Town. (i.e. Festival of LightsWaterton Relay, Family Fun Run, Canada’s Mormon Trail, Summer celebrations).
  11. Recreational Facilities
    We were pleased to see the completion of Phase 1 of the Pool Project by reopening the pool even if late in the season. Many thanks to all those who have participated in the fundraising project to complete Phase 2 of the Project. We are still short some 70,000 dollars and will welcome donations to see the waterslide completed for the 2015 Season.
  12. Council Involvement in the Community
    Council has been active in participating in many community events at the Town level and out of Town. It is always a true pleasure for Council to serve their community and to represent our Town in various Southern Alberta communities.

Council will continue to diligently serve you and inform you regularly of their doings. We value your input and encourage you to be involved in municipal affairs. Do not hesitate to contact us or to check Social Media, Channel 32 and the local Newspaper for Council updates and live proceedings. If you have serious concerns, please contact the Town. Your concerns will be taken seriously.

To your service,

Mayor and Council