Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Talk about perfect timing getting the answers in the Crowsnest Pass.

Almost ironically, I receive an email this morning from the municipality, it’s the monthly newsletter. I will take a few quotes from the Mayors Corner and contribute my own thought’s.

Quote #1.  “I think it’s safe to say we are all very interested in local politics and hopefully will continue to be. I have to admit I am a bit disappointed in that we have held two budget meetings – with no one in attendance.”

Response #1 Looks like the people are speaking by their absence.

Quote #2  “I understand the current Councils’ “petition” has been delivered to Edmonton. The Minister of Municipal Affairs will ultimately make a decision based on wisdom, expertise, legislation and as a Council we will, as I have indicated on several occasions, abide by his decision.”

Response #2 Did not realize it was the current councils “petition” I had assumed that it was gathered by the ratepayers. Maybe this was an attempt at a little bit of sarcasm.

Quote #3 “On a positive note administration will be rolling out the new Fire Plan probably before Christmas. The plan promises to provide improved service and long term savings. The Director of Protective and Community Services, Mr. Albert Headrick has indicated the plan will provide a cost savings of over one half million dollars over the next two years and ongoing savings thereafter.

Response #3 Are we talking here about the operational budget, capital budget combination of both? The budget for Fire and Rescue (Operational) in 2010 was less than $400,000 if they are going to reduce that by $500,000 in the next two years, it will be very interesting to see what they will do. If it is reducing the capital budget by not going with a $1.3 million Quint and instead buying something for $800,000 that’s just playing with numbers.

Quote #4 “  We are in the process of determining an open house date for our hotel development team to gather input from yourselves regarding the development. I suspect it will be in February. Contrary to rumor no “flag” hotel has yet been determined”

Response #4 Maybe not an “Holiday Inn” looks like we are buying time. I predict that come next September we are going to have all of these “Hot” projects ready to go subject to the developers, manufacturers, corporations maintaining a level of comfort with the direction of the “next” municipal council.

Quote #5 “ The manufacturing company will be flying its executives out from Quebec to view the site again. The hot water situation and environmental regulation is still a problem”  

Response #5 These problems will not get fixed in the short term, probably require another three years see response #4 above.

Quote #6 Your Chief Administrative Officer and I have met with four representatives of a heavy industry once more to discuss further possibilities. They indicated they would make a decision towards the end of the first quarter of 2013 or the beginning of the second quarter. I am amazed at the research and care these companies take to ensure that all environmental and social requirements can be met before they commit. This is a welcome and complete reversal from my experience as a young man. We have come a long way.

Response #6 Love the way all this timing is coming together, see response #4 and #5 above. Does anybody really believe that none of these guys are running in the next election.

Quote #7 “On November 13th Councillors Gail, Gallant, the Chief Administrative Officer and I met with Minister Griffiths to discuss Highway 3 and the MD of Ranchlands. As you are aware the Provincial government has recently indicated it is not adverse to borrowing funds for much needed infrastructure projects – I would like to see our highway at the top of the list. We were able to provide the Minister with a review of the need for a new highway relative to the bright future of the Pass. Our second issue was the need to seriously address the problem of the MD of Ranchlands vis √† vis the Crowsnest Pass. There are many complexities involved however we confirmed the obvious inequities and the positive impact on our taxes if an amalgamation could be realized. The Minister indicated he would visit us hopefully early in the New Year for a tour of the Pass and to continue these discussions.”

Response #7 It seems a long time ago since the provincial election remember all that talk from the PC’s about balance budgets, surpluses in fairly short order. Remember the opposition parties stating that the PC’s were basing their numbers on overly optimistic oil and gas prices. Now we find out that they were only talking about operational budgets, HWY 3 may be a priority for this community but it is not for Edmonton.
The MD of Ranchlands good luck I went to meetings with ministers to, met with the Council and CAO of Ranchlands, seen many letters go back and forth. I have not met many neighbors that are willing to share there good fortunes with the poor guy down the street. Which way do you think the MD of Pincher Creek and every other wealthy municipality are lobbying on this issue.

Quote #8    “In conclusion, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you.” Please make no mistake. Your elected Council knows its duty well and is committed to fulfilling that duty to the citizens of Crowsnest Pass.

Response #8 No matter what we the taxpayers think or care about the path they have chosen. 


Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments about all of these high hopes coming together just prior to the next election. Probably one of the oldest political tricks in the books.


Anonymous said...

They remind me of Bridgecreek.

The fire and rescue budget with a savings of 250,000$/year is incredible.In 2010 the budget was 400,000 and if we then subtract 250,000 we would be left with 150,000.The 2 new administrators in this department alone will have wages higher than this amount.They say they have about 50 active members today, are these people not getting paid and all of the other costs do not go away.
As for all of the other things that may happen in the future I hope it is all true.I however do not believe one word of it.They may as well be promising a 5000 seat arena out at the lakes.

Anonymous said...

It has been 25 months without much of anything to make one feel positive about. Dean has read well between the lines. According to the municipality's monthly newsletter one might as well call it a full term of pain complete with great promises of things about to happen. Maybe they will happen, "before the snow flies"... with the next council.

Anonymous said...

2:09; I see that you also noticed the funky math. It's called 'creative accounting' and the reliance on short term memory.
It worked once for RRD and they are throwing the gong, once again, to see how much sticks.
It seems that there is an ongoin pattern here as to how policy is enacted.

Anonymous said...

I am sure all those rich farmers in Ranchlands would love to see their tax dollars financing this mess down here. Maybe if they forced the two municipalities together. Council could hire a Director of Inter Municipal Affairs.

Jose said...

Re the Fire Dept budget, all you have to do is inflate the annual budget to say $1.1 million per year, and for the 2 years this is $2.2 million. Then cut back $500,000 over 2 years = $250,000/yr and VOILA, the YEARLY budget for Fire Dept is now $850,000. Hey, isn't that near the amount mentioned under the new Regime?

Better still let's cut back on the PROJECTED spending and there are even greater savings. Or, let's divert some of the costs for the Director and Fire Chief to other Departments. Aren't we doing well, and didn't we show them, they say. This is Standard Operating Procedure for the Government.

As for Ranchlands MD, what person in their right mind would look over the hill at the total budgetary fiasco in the Crowsnest, and even agree to consider to discuss the matter of Amalgamation? The Ranchland guys didn't fall off of their hay wagon yesterday for sure.


Anonymous said...

Jose.. I just had a brain fart. How about we have something and call it TTV, sell 50/50 tickets, merchandise, camping and a totally unique experiece. Proceeds would go towards subsidizng our fire department and some going towards charity and community groups. Any left over moneys would be judiciously distributed amongst our business community.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

It a standard operating procedure for seasoned bureaucrats to spend money today with a promise that savings will come tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Love your post title Dean. Love your sarcasm!!

Anonymous said...

This council and any future council in the Crowsnest Pass. Needs to understand the basic concept that we are a bedroom community for the mines with a little bit of tourism sprinkled in.
Before we go cap in hand to Ranchlands or the provincial government we MUST get our financial house in order. Big companies that are making lots of money expand their workforces, and start new product lines. Not companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy.


Anonymous said...

Its time for the Crowsnest Pass to stand up and recognize that we are moving into the 21st century. People like you Dean are not going to stop this avalanche of change sweeping across this valley. Time to accept this and embrace it. Or it terms you guys here will understand "Quit whining and suck it up"

Misty Schitz

Anonymous said...

Hi Misty, A while back I asked you to provide me a list of all the positive changes this council has done.I have a long list of negatives. Can you hurry up and please provide me this list.By the way I read the 2012 accomplishments to date and the challenges, and I am having trouble finding the positives.The rest of the newsletter is mostly hype or even pure bs.
Mitsy, after you have posted your list of positives can you please explain how the fire and rescue changes are going to save us 250,000$/year.Looking forward to your replies.

Anonymous said...

Our council is adding to our costs in an unsustainable manner. This has nothing to do with 21st Century. It is taking us backwards. It is very unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Here's a Duty they don't seem to know. If they have a pecuniary interest they must "disclose the general nature of the pecuniary interest prior to any discussion of the matter". It is not enough to just say "conflict" or "pecuniary interest".

This 8 page PDF from Alberta Municipal Affairs
Municipal Councillors' Guidelines for Conflict of Interest
gives the example:

"I am abstaining on this matter because I am a shareholder in the company."

Councillors are disqualified from office if they don't get this right.

This may seem like a mere technicality, but since these guys are busily writing Codes of Conduct and Conflict of Interest rules for employees and unpaid volunteers, and imposing draconian penalties for late taxes, I think we should them to the same strict standards.

Anonymous said...

Misty I would say bad things about you but then I know my comment will not get published.
I agree 110% everything is going to get dragged out until next summer to build these guys up for the next election.
Crowsnest Pass voters remember the old saying about fool me once......


Jose said...

Yes Misty, there is an avalanche -- one of RED INK from the ongoing overspending; of the red fire trucks infesting the Crowsnest; and the soon to be avalanche of red faces of those occupying Town Hall that will make Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer look dim.

The "suck it up" that you mention is the Giant Sucking Sound coming from the Town Hall. Anything that gets near that place is sucked down a big black hole. That hole is getting deeper and deeper.

You say that residents are against the 21st Century? Not so. Most people embrace the concept of change, but not the irresponsible manner in which it is being implimented. Your program stinks.


Chloe said...

Dean, the Mayor and Council would do well to be very careful about throwing around the 'Holiday Inn' name. The chain spends untold millions in branding. The in-house legal team won't look kindly upon the CNP casually starting a rumour that the chain is looking to build a new hotel. Take care.