Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers Latest Update

The following information update appeared in today's newspaper.

Are Crowsnest Pass Ratepayers concerned?

We ask all taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass to look at what has happened over the last two years. We are now gathering names on a petition requesting municipal affairs to take a look at the issues raised by the Taxpayers of the Crowsnest Pass if you are equally concerned please contact us at the numbers listed below.
  • Taxes are climbing every year in 2010 (Bylaw 794) showed the municipality collecting  $6,432,821 in General Municipal Taxation in 2012 (Bylaw 851) that number is $6,820,152 an increase of $387,331 per year.
  • Utility Bills in 2010 our utility bills were providing the municipality $182,054 per month today we are paying $201,945 a difference of $19,891 per month or $238,700 per year
  • Franchise Fees in 2010 were bringing in $295,551 today we are paying $569,749 a difference of  $274,198.

Those three numbers above come to a total of $900,029 per year more. Right now council has a proposal to increase Franchise Fees another $336,945 next year plus an additional 2.5% in residential taxes. That will transfer $1,400,000 more a year from the Taxpayers pockets to the Municipality versus 2010. This does not include all the other Fees, Fines and charges that have been increased by a council and administration that are focused on maximizing revenues.

  • Municipal Hiring: Council would have you believe that the Municipal workforce has not increased in size. At the date of the last election there were 19 employees in the municipal office (Administrators and Staff) Today that number is 25. In addition we are concerned about the never ending turn over at the administrative level. From June of 2011 to July of 2012 we had six changes at the administrative level.
  • Consultants: Do you feel like every week there is another consultant determining the future of our community. Up to April 5,2012 $19,000 to Abiocon Strategies, $49,000 to Friesen Tokar, $102,447 to Park Enterprises, $43,570 to All Fire Investigations, $13,055 to Inn Heaven Bed & Breakfast, $203,545 to Transitional Solutions.  Now we hear about consultants being used for Branding and Fire Hall location studies. Where does it stop?
  • Debt: Prior to 2010 previous councils had a policy of putting money aside to purchase new equipment, 2011 $550,000 was borrowed to finance equipment that is barely ever used. (Almost $300,000 on a track hoe alone), 2012 $140,000 was borrowed to finance the two community Peace Officer trucks.

Changes: Let’s look at what else as happened over the last two years.

  • Spring Cleanup eliminated for the vast majority of the public.
  • April 2011 Bellevue Library closes.
  • July 2011 announcement regarding consolidation of Blairmore/Coleman shop does not happen until a year later.
  • September 2011 Mayor Decoux informs Chamber of Commerce that the municipality will be hiring another Peace Officer at “no cost to the Taxpayers”
  • September 29,2011 fire and rescue services will be amalgamated to facilitate a more efficient Emergency Response model
  • December 2011 Tax Penalties increased from 20% to 52%.
  • Feb,2012 Census results show Crowsnest Pass population drops 3.2%
  • March 2012 Council makes decision to “defer Thunder in the Valley”
  • April 2012 Devon Gas Plant announces closure
  • May 2012 Mayor announces request for proposals going out on the Crowsnest Centre Site
  • May 2012 Tender for demolition of the Crowsnest Centre put out with a closing date of August 30th
  • June 2012 Town Hall meeting Mayor Speaks about Centre being gone before first snowfall and the building process beginning next spring. Discusses approaching the Province and the MD of Ranchlands to share tax revenues.
  • June 2012 Mayor releases first “Mayor’s Corner” Very critical of coffee talkers and people that write letters to the editor or on web sites.
  • June 2012 Rate payers organization revived, meetings with the public begin.
  • July 2012 Water/Sewer rates increase by 4.5% electrical increases by 6%
  • July 2012 Community Peace Officer Trucks arrive ($140,000)
  • July 2012 Despite predictions of huge turnouts Rum Runner Days takes place with very poor attendance at most events
  • August 2012 Pass Promoter runs story about Municipality hiring gopher hunters despite denial at previous town hall meeting.
  • Sept 2012 Community Peace Officers are introduced at Council meeting
  • Sept 2012 Announcement that Chinook Pipelines is suing the municipality
  • Sept 2012 Safety codes Fees are going up 120%
  • Sept 2012 Mayor interviewed on Alberta Primetime regarding potential Quebec Manufacturer
  • Sept 2012 New Fire Chief and his new pickup show up
  • Sept 2012 Debate on Municipal Franchise Fee Increases begins.
  • Sept 2012 Final report on Rum Runner Days “deferred” to Oct 2 then again to Oct 16.
  • Sept 2012 Community Branding Town hall meeting.
  • October 2012 Municipality relives   Blairmore Fire Chief of his position.

The ratepayers association requested information regarding the three year budget, we were informed that this information would be given to us by the middle of September and released to the public on the Municipal Web site. At our meeting with Council on October 9,2012 we were finally presented with a pile of papers that are suppose to answer the questions asked.

Interested in joining the Ratepayers or signing our petition contact the following

                                   William Kovach 564-4709         Gail Montgomery 564-4077

                             Troy Clark 563-0381                  Sasha JaegerBaird 563-6073

Ed Strembecki 564-0184        Marilyn Milley 562-2719
Marlene Anctil 562-8180        Larry Ruzek 564 4384
Rudy Pagnucco 562-8147


Anonymous said...

Not deflecting from anything, but my biggest concern is suppose instead of "supposed". Yikes.

Anonymous said...

9:21 That is why we are in trouble in the Pass. We focus so much attention on the little items (spelling error) that we lose sight of the real issues.

Anonymous said...

No, I think a newspaper's responsibility is to have correct spelling and grammar.

Anonymous said...

April 2012 Devon Gas Plant announces closure

this was council's fault?

Anonymous said...


First of all what you are commenting on is a flyer placed inside today's paper. It was not written by the newspaper. I would expect that papers are not expected to proof read all the advertising flyers that go in their publications.
Next I expect if you had been on the Titanic you would have been rearranging the deck chairs has the boat went down.
Why don't you debate the information in the flyer, of which there is plenty. The best you can do is come up with a spelling mistake?
I suspect you think this council is doing a great job because every piece of paper, by law, policy they put out, is grammatically correct.


Anonymous said...

Um, as it should be. I would hope government would not send something out with, UR invited......

If you want to be taken seriously you should take time with things such as spelling and grammar.

Anonymous said...

Devon gas plant: I do not think anybody is blaming council for the closure. The heading talks about changes in the Crowsnest Pass over the last two years.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:40, the plant closure took away a wad of cash from our account receivable, yet the spending did not pause, as our brilliant leadership is spending tax dollars like mad, preparing us for a better future. Looking at what they have done so far, one can say their intentions are good, but if we let them continue on the present course, someone will eventually say: “the operation was successful, but the patient died.”

Anonymous said...

Dean on the Municipal web site @ http://www.town.crowsnestpass.ab.ca/finance-a-administration/employment

It shows a number of jobs available what exactly is the Manager of Operational Services and the Manager of Corporate Services?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen CSI Miami yet this fall. Any chance that they are filming a few episodes in the Pass?

Anonymous said...

The silent majority are speaking all over our great municipality right now.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean the silent majority is speaking out?

Anonymous said...

Blame the price of natural gas being in the toilet and Alberta Environment for the ever-tightening emissions requirements these old sour plants have to operate under for the closure of the gas plant. It was a good employer, community supporter and local tax contributer but lumping it in with all the other woes of council is hardly educated or informed. The subject of the gas plant shouldn't even come up in these ratepayers discussions. Council and their actions had absolutely nothing to do with its closure.

Anonymous said...

Does it say any where that it was Councils fault?
We must be reading it differently


Anonymous said...

No one is blaming the Council for the plant closure. The problem with this council is that someone did a very good snow job on them and convinced them that we can have prosperity in the future if we spend a lot of tax dollars today. While it is true that investing in your community is important, not all investments are the same. Building big bureaucratic structures and isolating the councillors from the community they are supposed to serve, is not a good investment. Crowsnest Pass is not resistant to change; Crowsnest Pass is resistant to foolishness.

Anonymous said...


People around town have been suggesting it is Council's fault Devon got driven away.
Open your eyes and ears and stick to the facts, Jack


Anonymous said...

Ed, you have some strange friends or you just want to make trouble. I get around town a lot and I have not heard anyone blaming the council for the plant closure. We don't need to grasp at straws like those who support this council. Imagine calling the police on our own volunteers. When our Council behaves like this, no one needs to fabricate anything.