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Friday, September 29, 2017

Letter: Town Council concerns



Cheryl Handford (revised) - Our Town election is just around the corner and I am encouraging everyone to get out and vote! Some change may be in order. The current council of the Town have not shown to be very transparent, for example since the August 2nd Committee of the Whole and Council meetings, 7 in total, there were 52 new items of business and of these 23 went in-camera! The public of this community vote and put their trust in these people and why all this need for secrecy? The Town does not list an organization chart on the website and sends out graphs listing only percentages and no dollar amounts with utility bills.

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass with a population of 5,589 employs approximately 47 full-time people and the Town of Pincher Creek has 50 full-time people with a population of 3,600. Could be some tax dollar savings perhaps? It would seem that taxpayers are not aware of the fact that 5 employees that are paid through taxpayer dollars do not reside in the community and three of these positions are senior administration that would recommend and advise council on Town matters brought forward. I brought this forward to a new candidate to seek an opinion on lack of transparency, employees not residing in community, and I quote “owned my own business – relied on people that didn’t live in Pincher Creek. They did their job and it was better than anyone I had hired in town. I really don’t care where they live, if they are working for the better good of this town-so will continue to happen if I’m on council.” You decide for yourself!

The Town collects franchise fees that are then paid by the local taxpayer through the Fortis and AltaGas bills and since 2012 these collected fees have doubled - $334,915.00 - Fortis and $491,642.00, making this another form of taxes that are received by the Town. The Town has been very fortunate to have received grants from other levels of the government but these may not be available time and time again so all this spend, spend might not be in the best interest of the community and some prudence may be something to think about as the community has just sustained such devastation and loss. 

At the election forum a question was put forth from a member of the public inquiring about the cost of maintaining new facilities and if there were plans in place to handle increased costs while not increasing taxes! While new facilities do enhance the community they do come at a cost that will increase over time and local taxpayers are aware of the fact that taxes are already questionably high.

Voting is an honor, a right and a privilege and very important in what happens to our Town for the next 4 years. Be careful and thoughtful with that right.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you Cheryl for your courage and honesty in sharing thoughts and information.

    Dianne Gray

    ReplyDelete
  2. Although change is an ideal thought - the change put forth by mayoral candidate Dianne Grey is about as transparent as a turbid stream. From attending the forum and reading her submission to the voice last week, it appears she is a miracle worker who wants to develop this area as nothing more than a tourism destination - I think we deserve a more credible candidate and platform than what was put forth.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous2/10/17

    Dear Editor, I appreciate that some change can be scary, particularly for "Concerned Citizen". I think at least, we both can agree, that our Town of Pincher Creek is a hidden gem. Tourism as well as commerce, social enterprises and a robust economic base are intricately linked. Our downtown business sector is a thermometer on our overall economic health. I hope that if I am elected as Mayor,with Council, my work would generate serious contemplation,with resolutions, on the many issues at hand brought forward by citizens. - Dianne Gray

    ReplyDelete

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