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

Letter to Citizens

This month, I would like to touch on a few topics of interest.

Kudos: To Terah Thesen for having completed 10 years as a loyal employee of the Town. We appreciate Terah and her willingness to serve our citizens presently as FCSS Director and office staff. Thanks Terah for your good services!

Kudos: To Jill Heninger for having successfully completed the clerk course for Local Board of Appeal.

Kudos: To our Town Councillors, CAO , Operation Manager and Water and Waste Water Foreman for responding to the needs of Fort McMurray by sparing two employees to work on their Water Treatment and Sewer Plants.

Congrats: To the Cardston Cougars Boys Baseball Team for becoming the Provincial Champions. They were awesome and displayed wonderful sportsmanship!

Congrats: To the fine performance of our senior local dancers from Jodi’s Dance Academy for their outstanding performances at the competition level.

Congrats:  To the School and Women's Cantrice choirs for their excellent year end performances.

Congrats: To the Lions Club for celebrating their 75th year anniversary as an organization. The Cardston Lions Club is a great Town partner that help us with grant funding for various projects. Thank you, Lions Club we appreciate your dedication to our Town and its citizens!

Council Matters:

Taxation: By now you will have received your Property Assessment. You are now readily able to compare the assessed value of our property for 2016 with the 2015 assessed value.

·         The story to be told - Cardston collective 2016 tax dollar amount is less that the collective tax dollars in 2011!

·         The good news story – The 2016 Municipal portion of the Mill rate is the same as in 2015 for Residential and Non-residential Properties.

·         The not-so good story- The Education Mill rate and the Subsidized Housing Mill rates did go up slightly. Council does not control these mill rates, but they affect your overall property taxes.

·         This 2016 budget is very lean, but it has the necessary inflationary contingencies and reserves in place to fulfill our operational and capital needs and cover unforeseen expenditures.

·         Many thanks to our Administrator, Jeff Shaw, and to our accountant Hakon Skoien for their excellent efforts in establishing our 2016 budget along with our 2017 and 2018 draft budget projections.

 Upcoming events:

·         Pow Wow.  Change in dates: This year Pow Wow will take place in Lion’s Park on July 13 only.  Incorporated in the program, we will also have our very own Southern Alberta Entertainers. Larry and Lloyd Kunkel and Cam Clark will perform at the 2016 Pow Wow in Lions’ Park. Brent Bevans with Russell Red Crow will be the announcers. They are quite an entertaining pair!  A Chautauqua Vignette will be part of the show. Please invite your friends and families to see this beautiful display of pageantry, and share an appreciation for our Southern Alberta aboriginal culture. In the Spirit of Reconciliation, together let us build bridges.

·         Chautauqua: A first in Southern Alberta! The week after Heritage Days…A many faceted cultural celebration event that will take place in Raymond, Magrath, Stirling and Cardston. Watch for more information to come soon from our Chautauqua’s Committee spearheaded by Cllr's. Bengry and Peavoy.

Safety and Security: A continuous reminder to be vigilant and to secure your property and belongings at all times. When away from home, take advantage of the RCMP Registry. Call the local detachment to register, and report unusual car or foot traffic in your neighbourhood.

Mayor Kronen