Often I have people ask me questions about the political situation in the Crowsnest Pass. So I will take the time to address the most common questions being asked over the last couple of months.
What is your opinion of this new schedule for council meetings?
Since Mayor Decoux and his group of councilors took over there as been 55 meeting of council (Including Council, G+P, Special meeting, Organizational etc up to December 6th 2011)
The average duration of those meeting has been 2 hours and 28 minutes of which 58 minutes on average have been in camera. That means the average resident has had the opportunity to see their council at work making the decisions that impact every one of us for a grand total of six hours a month.
Now I know that most people don't go to council meeting, lets face it the majority of people don't vote.
Why not lessen the number of elections?
But that's not the point, the public must have the opportunity if they so choose to see their council at work, in a community that has a lot of people that work 12 hour shifts and out of town the opportunity must be provided.
Previous council met every Tuesday (as recommended by the Cuff report) this gave every person four opportunities a month to drop by the municipal office and see their council at work if they wished.
During December, January and now February council has been testing a schedule where they meet on only two days a month one day for just a council meeting. A second day for a G+P meeting in the afternoon and then a council meeting at night. Depending on shift schedules a person may never have the opportunity to attend a meeting.
Is their a lot of debate at the council meeting?
I don't think so, I keep telling people to come to a meeting and check it out for themselves. Some more interesting numbers, most of us know that you can't make motions In Camera at the average meeting there are 14 motions made, council is only in the public realm for 90 minutes a meeting that means on average a motion is being made every six minutes. Would anybody consider there to be a lot of debate?
Do you feel the strategic plan as been successful?
I respond with what do you think? outside of the Bellevue Library closing, name me one other change. Believe it or not I still get people saying well they consolidated the Blairmore/Coleman shop.
How much are we spending on consultants?
That comes up again and again I am going to request those numbers soon from the municipality, will I be provided them who knows.
Are my taxes going up this year?
My answer is I believe so, but I always caution don't just watch your taxes. Follow franchise fees, user fees, etc.
Do you think the back tax rate increase had a significant effect on the amount of outstanding back taxes?
Financial statements will be out near the end of April I will compare this years numbers with last.
Just some things to think about and hopefully create some debate