We, as Mayor and Council, have now been in office for over 18 months and feel it important to give you a sense of our position regarding the following items in this Annual Report.
We value our relationship with our regional neighbours. The Town of Cardston spearheaded a Shared Service Delivery Review this past year funded through a Community Partnership collaboration grant to develop new and better ways to improve the delivery of some common services. We also took the lead on applying for a Community Partnership grant with the goal to develop a regional Solid Waste Management Best Practices Model. Some positive recommendations have been brought forth to improve operations regarding these two projects.
We as Council are aware of the importance of implementing adequate bylaws and policies and we are dealing with these on a regular basis trying to improve our governance. Council has created a strategic plan to guide our vision and decisions up to 2017. It is a living document that will continue guiding Council’s proceedings. We know that we need to find cost saving measures to keep our budget in check and to remain financially sustainable especially in these uncertain economic times. We are very aware of the need for growth in housing development and businesses in our Town and are working towards this goal.
We will keep working on programs and policies to improve our business area. We feel it socially responsible to find ways to become ‘greener’ in our operations by encouraging recycling and conservation of potable water for domestic use while improving our irrigation lines for our parks. And we need to continue addressing and effectively plan for the replacement of aging infrastructure. These issues will take time and thorough analysis and planning.
We want to thank all of you for your participation in the Citizens survey, Business interviews, Senior and youth surveys. Your input is valuable and has been incorporated where possible in our Strategic Planning and in our new Municipal Development Plan, a document that will guide the Town’s direction for the next 10 years. Many thanks to all citizens at large who accept to work on Town Committees. Your input is valuable and helps Mayor and Council with their governing mandate.
2015 is a year of changes: Marian Carlson has taken a CAO position in Claresholm after 26 years of loyal services to our Town. We wish her all the best. We also want to welcome and congratulate our new CAO, Jeff Shaw, for his appointment. As Mayor and Council, we have full confidence that the Town is in good hands and look forward to work in full collaboration with him.
We also want to congratulate Noell Smith, Director of Finances, who retired after 27 years of service with the Town and who saw us through another excellent Audit Review Process. We wish Noell well in her retirement and welcome, Hakon Skoien, CA, as our new Director of Finances.
As Mayor and Council, we wish to thank all the Town’s employees for their excellent services to the Town and its citizens. We welcome your participation in Municipal Affairs and invite you to follow Council’s proceedings live, or on Social Media, Channel 32 or the local newspaper. If you have concerns, please directly contact the Town or members of Council. Your concerns are our concerns. As Mayor and Council, we are always ready to serve and honoured to do so. We appreciate your continued support. Thank you!
Town Department Reports
Finance & Administration
The Town continues to work off of a 3-year rolling budget which ensures we maintain a vision for the future while considering how to mitigate foreseeable risks and changes. We focus on capital projects and essential services. Budget highlights for 2015 include completing the renovation and upgrades to the pool house as well as sidewalk repairs and the installation of ramps on several street corners.
This year both Marian Carlson and Noell Smith announced they will be leaving our administration team. Marian has taken the position of CAO for the Town of Claresholm, and Noell, our Director of Finance and Administration, decided to move on to retirement. We thank each of them for their many years of faithful service with the Town and wish them all the best in their new endeavours.
The Electrical Department continued to upgrade portions of the Town’s electrical system to 25KV. A digger truck and a bucket truck were purchased. They also continued to change out old yellow halogen street lighting with white LED lighting.
A number of important projects were completed this year, including the completion of our storm water line, which should alleviate future flooding on Main Street. The major project for the year was the replacement of water and sewer mains on 4th Ave W and the repaving of that section of street. In 2015 we will replace the water and sewer mains on 2nd Avenue W between 1st and 3rd Streets and instal a sewer main is being installed beneath 7th Street E from 3rd to 5th Avenues.
Water & Wastewater
Major projects for this department in 2014 include the replacement of old water and wastewater mains on 4th Avenue W between 5th Street and 7th Street and the installation of new UV reactors for water purification. The flood event in June, although quite severe, did not result in the backup of sanitary sewer lines, to the great relief of all residents.
Economic Development & Tourism
This year we hosted a number of luncheons on a variety of topics for local businesses, including customer service and social media engagement strategies. New board members were elected at the Annual General Meeting. 2015 will be a great year for Ec Dev with a number of exciting projects underway.
Bylaw & Animal Control
Our Bylaw Officer has made quite an impact on our community this year with 270 animals picked up (97 cats, 107 dogs, 49 skunks), 151 traffic or parking complaints dealt with, and 55 unsolicited proposition complaints dealt with. The Bylaw Officer engaged in a number of initiatives including a regional Bike Rodeo program and animal rescue shelters in Lethbridge and Okotoks to take unclaimed animals from our community.
A number of new bylaws have been passed this year, including Bylaw 1625, a new Dog Bylaw that received Third and Final Reading in February 2015. This bylaw increases the fines for infractions substantially and expands the range of offences that can be penalized. This is due to a high volume of recent serious incidents with dogs in Cardston.
Family & Community Support Services
FCSS continues to fund a number of important community programs from active living programs, children's programs, and seniors activities and groups. Highlights in the past year include the Volunteer Appreciation Corn Bust held in October and the formation of the new Mayor’s Youth Council.
The FCSS Board would like to fund a community organization to take over the Halloween Carnival for 2015 and beyond. If your organization is interested in this fundraising opportunity, please contact Alexis Buzzee at 403-653-3366.
Planning & Development
In 2014 there were a total of three new houses started in Cardston. This is down from last years’ 8 new houses started. A new Municipal Development Plan has now been completed and we are gearing up for a new Land Use Bylaw. We hope that everyone will participate with us in the creation of this new bylaw.
Parks & Recreation
We were very please to be able to reopen the pool this year. Pool attendance was high throughout the summer and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the community. For 2015 we hope to complete the waterslide fundraising and start renovating the building. entryway to the pool. The Ice Centre has been very well used this winter with lots of rentals. The Westwind School Division has taken over the maintenance and booking of the Football and Baseball fields at Lions Park. They have done a great job maintaining these areas and we are happy to be partnering with them in this way.