What I said and What I did No. 2 – Taxes and Spending

In reviewing my 2013 candidate package, I made some statements that I think are worth recapping to see how my record held up to what I thought as a candidate.

Taxes and Spending

I want to be part of a Council that gets back to being good stewards of your tax dollars

Over the last two budgets under our CAO and CFO, we have really worked hard on the budget and the budget process. We’ve made all our budget meetings, including the ones where our Public Works Director tells us how many shovels he’ll need open to the public. We’ve offered residents multiple ways to interact and offer opinion on how money is spent, including an online tool, and we’ve started doing a budget retreat so Council and staff can work uninterrupted on this important part of the job.

Tightening belts is always subjective as is separating essential stuff from fluff – but collectively, we have all made our cuts and additions based on what we felt was needed.

I knew we were on the right path when two of our harshest budget critics offered the Town praise this year.

I support a complete operational review, including Council operations and spending

We did just that – early in the term, and it has benefitted this community. The majority of recommendations are either implemented or in the process, and Council spending is roughly half of the budgeted spending for this year.

I support ending our love affair with paid consultants, except where their services are essential

As an elected official I’ve voted against hiring a consultant in a couple of cases, and the culture that has developed under our CAO is one where there is a preference to do work in house. Certainly, experts need to be hired when we do not have those experts in house or where contracted services are required under the Municipal Government Act (Auditor for example).

I support doing all we can to increase commercial assessment on 100 Avenue, 100 Street and elsewhere in town

I’m tremendously proud of the work done here by Council and Administration. Over the past four years, we have added approximately $15 million in commercial assessment.

On top of that – three Area Structure Plans have been approved by Council for commercial development on 100 Street alone. These include Westwinds, where the new Catholic elementary will go, and Coal Creek (across the road) which will be light industrial and commercial.

I support a complete review of community services program spending, reducing the amount spent, and shifting some of the reduction to our community groups and organizations to run programs that resonate with our residents.

In retrospect, my ideas here were a little over the top although the spirit of the idea was good.

Our programs have never been better.

Prior to the last election, we had lots of cancelled programs. Today, they are majority filled in all age categories. Our staff expanded usage of the atrium at the cultural centre by making it The Loft for our youth, and we are seeing good partnerships with outside parties on programs.

From a recent Council agenda package:

“The current utilization of the Main Hall – Hall A and B during the week Monday to Thursday is roughly 75% in use leaving only one day per week where only half hall is available.

“Currently, the usage of the time being utilized is 75% community group, 20% municipal and 5% non‐local/ commercial.”