One key lesson I have taken from my 4 year Council experience is that not one person can hope to succeed in a position of 'elected official' if they come into this process with an agenda, or a mantra of change. Government is a slow moving process absolutely, but with good reason. Spending your tax dollars wisely is its primary purpose, and multiple safeguards are in place to make sure they are never spent in knee-jerk fashion. As Mayor, I will be deeply committed to upholding this most basic expectation.
Three and five year Operational and Capital Budget processes have been implemented (with some discussions trending to 10 year fiscal strategies), and that's also why it takes a longer time than it perhaps should for example, to fix or repair unexpected 'bumps in the road', of which we have many I might add. Infrastructure maintenance and improvement will be one of my highest priorities.
A comprehensive sidewalks refurbishment strategy would be one item I would continue to lend a strong voice towards. Extensive study has gone into this area, but the potential millions it may cost to do it correctly takes time to get pushed into the right 'funding pockets'. Highway 583 is another area that fields a lot of concern and criticism since it is often people's first impression of our Town. A 2025 vision in conjunction with Alberta Transportation hopes to address both road condition and the need for improved Stormwater management through the whole North/Northwest corner of town. Stormwater ponds in the Southeast section of Town also are in the Budget queue. Until funding is fully committed to this complex area, it may remain stagnant without an ongoing push from experienced voices. Roads and bumpy streets are a constant reminder of old sewer and water infrastructure beneath them, and plans are ongoing for continued maintenance and replacement, and I would continue to press for action in this area.
If the Town had 50 or 60 million dollars laying around, we could get most of our infrastructure back on track, but as you all know, that's probably not going to happen. One of my persistent and consistent Council wishes these last four years was a lessening of taxes on both commercial and residential properties in Three Hills. We have had some success in lowering the overall tax rates through attrition, re-structuring, and overall belt-tightening. As Mayor, I would anticipate one more year of modest tax reduction. Following that I expect a slight tax increase over the next two years at least, but will lend my voice to keeping increases to a minimum. It may not be popular, but I think that's what will need to happen.