Mayor Letter to the citizens – September 2017

Dear citizens,

Town Celebrations
This hot summer was filled with joyful and colorful events in all parts of Town for your great enjoyment. Thank you for your presence and hope you had lots of fun!

Congratulations: To all organizers, volunteers, town staff and employees, clubs and Associations, business community and Town councillors for The Canada 150 Celebrations, Party in the Park, the Cardston-Kainai Pow Wow , Heritage Week with its multitude of activities, the Warrior Mud Run, Chuck Wagon Competitions and Agridome events.

Congratulations: To Dr. Justin Low for being nominated Citizen of the year who as a Rotarian jointly spearheaded the Lion’s Park Playground project; and to Tom Traweek  who received the Lifetime Citizen Award for his volunteer coaching of youth sport teams for some 30 years.

Waterton Park fires
Summer is coming to an end, but we are experiencing some difficult moments and poor air quality due to the severe B.C. forest fires that have now reached Waterton Park, affecting the Cardston County and the M.D. of Pincher Creek. For updated info, please refer to this site: Rain is badly needed to curb Mother’s Nature destructive power. Relief seems to be in the forecast. Our collective prayers are needed.

Kudos: To all our EMS personnel for assisting Waterton Park Fire Fighters in their efforts to protect their town. To all those who volunteered to give their time and lend heavy equipment to assist in preventative measures to protect the Town of Waterton from potentially devastating fires.

Kudos: To our CAO, Jeff Shaw and his administrative team for having organized with very little notice an excellent Registration Centre for the County of Cardston on Monday night. Special thanks to Diane Oertli for managing the registration table from 11:30pm to 4:30am in such a professional and pleasant manner, and for all Council members for their great support that evening.

Highlights from Council meetings
The first part of the year, from January to May, Council is always busy revising their strategic plan as it impacts upcoming budgets. All departments then work on their projections, and establish department budgets with 3 and 5 year forecasts. Administration and the financial department review all requirements and make recommendations to Council. It is also a time when Council is debriefed by our Town Assessor and by our Town Auditor.

Budgeting and Taxation: In May, Council approved a 3 year Operating Budget and a 5 year Capital Budgets as well as establishing the 2017 mill rates. This Council has kept a conservative taxation position without compromising the financial and operating requirements of our various departments to do their jobs.

Town Financial Audit: Our Town received an excellent financial audit. We are sound and sustainable. Many thanks go to our accountant Hakon Skoien, to our CAO Jeff Shaw, and all department managers for their excellent work in managing with prudence our collective tax revenues and for making some very difficult decisions in the process.

Electrical Department: We are going solar without straining the budget or increasing taxes. With a government grant and the financial lending support of Enmax, we now have 2 buildings fully powered by solar energy with a Net-Zero billing. The panels are guaranteed for 30 years and we expect to have the infrastructure paid within 15 years or less. Kudos to Councillor Barfuss and Alex Schow for their great work in bringing this project to light at significant savings over the life of the panels. We will continue seeking new solar opportunities and we will continue converting street lights to LED for additional savings.

High Speed Internet- AXIA: Thank you to all of you that participated in the AXIA Campaign and for supporting the concept of high speed internet in our Town. A Special Thank You to Council and especially to Cllr. Edmonds for his active campaigning and door knocking on our behalf. Your interest has been noticed. Keep posted for further information.

Safety and Security: Please continue to be vigilant in your efforts to protect your property, cars and belongings. Crimes of opportunity are still too prevalent in our Town.

Panhandling: Thank you to all those who contribute to the Cardston-Kainai Food Fund in an effort to help curb panhandling in our town. The problem cannot be resolved without your help and support.

Loitering: Our Community Peace Officer, Brad Larsen, and Bylaw Officer Malcolm Hutchinson are doing their best to ease the situation. It is not an easy problem to resolve without our working together. If you have concerns or questions on the panhandling issue, please call the Town at 403-653-3366 or the RCMP detachment at 403-653-4932. Thank you.

Upcoming Event: As you may have realized by now, we are in a municipal election year. Nomination date is September 18, 2017 and Elections will be October 16, 2017.

Councillors Edmonds, Barfuss and Creed have publicly announced that they will not be running again. As Mayor, I want to congratulate them for their diligence and thank them for their great service to our Town as members of Council table and of various committees.

It is always a great pleasure to serve you.

Mayor Kronen