Thursday, September 5, 2013

The waiting is almost over, the time to step up is very soon.

Only eighteen days to nomination day (Sept 23 by noon), nomination forms will be made available to anybody that is interested starting Monday morning (Sept 9) at the Municipal Office. There are only three council meetings left prior to the election (Sept 17, Oct 1 and Oct 15) so if you want to get a sense of how the process works your opportunities are becoming fewer. I have not seen anybody show up with a note pad in the last couple of meetings. Maybe that is an indication that there are not a lot of people interested or maybe some potential candidates have made up their minds and do not see a value to attending council meetings.  

This election is going to be a big one for the Crowsnest Pass, first of the next council’s  term is four years, so if we make the wrong choices we are stuck with them for that extra twelve months.

Much larger issue in my mind is like it or not Decoux and his group promised change (unfortunately very few people asked what kind of change) but they did deliver change. Today we have the largest administration we have ever had, we have the most regulation we have ever seen in the Crowsnest Pass, more bylaws, policies and procedures than even the most avid bean counter would care to count. We enjoyed a council that promised us a mere 2.5% mill rate increases over the last three years, then attempted to fool us all by slapping on franchise fee increases that today would equate to an extra 5-6% tax increase annually. We saw changes that tore this community apart and led to 2500 plus people signing a petition in what appeared to be record time. At that point you would think a government at any level would have realized it was time to hear the people. Instead the taxpayers of this community got an attitude of “do your investigation you will not find anything illegal here” And a Mayor that used a monthly municipal newsletter to attack anybody that dared to disagree with his direction.  

Now on the eve of the election we see a desperate attempt to buy votes by spending $600,000 of our own money to demolish a building that could have been tore down three years ago long before we spent $70,000 buying a Best Western Name for a consultant, redundant studies and legal fees.
We the voters get a choice in forty six short days,  I am sure most of the present council will put their names forth, I am also sure we will have quite a number of other candidates to look at.

My hope for this election is that the public asks questions lots of them when somebody talks about “change” ask them what they mean by that. Do not wait for the public forums each candidate will be lucky if they get five minutes to speak. Seek out the candidates ask them where they stand on the issues important to you. If a candidate is serious, he/she will make their phones numbers, emails and mostly themselves available to address your concerns and questions.  

Do not be easily fooled if a candidate promises you no tax increases for the next four years he is a liar, if he promises you tax decreases he is not only a liar he is a fool.

Remember a candidate can promise you the world but unless he can convince a majority of council to vote his way the promises really mean nothing. So if there is a particular direction you would like to see the municipality head in then you better make sure that there are enough potential councilors that have those common beliefs.

I hope the public does not get fooled by the politicians that attempt to please everybody, it is not possible and those types of people end up not taking a position on anything.

I have often been asked what kind of commitment is required to be a councilor? Time, it is not just showing up every second Tuesday raising your hand 25 times and going home. You will put in an average of 20 hours per week you will attend numerous meeting, and events. You will receive calls, you will be approached by the public where ever you go. If you want to be knowledgeable about issues you will spend a lot of time doing research. You will have to make a lot of tough decisions, some that affect people’s livelihoods and some that involve issues that people have been very passionate about for a long time.

You will get paid for doing this but if you are in this purely for the money you will be disappointed over the last ten years councilors have made somewhere around  $12-14,000 a year and the Mayor $22-25,000 a year.

Lastly make sure you have thick skin there will be times where those calls you get will not be so pleasant, and yes it should never be personal but there are a very small minority out there that like to make it that way.

Kudos  to everybody that decides to put their name up for a very difficult job ahead.  



Loreena Russomanno said...

Great post Dean. When we vote for you, we will know that you knew what you were getting yourself into and where you stand on the issues. Thank you for staying strong and committed even after you were not re-elected. You have earned and deserve our votes! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dean my insurance company informs me that the chances of my rates dropping next year are somewhere between slim and none. I would sure like to know how much it cost us to run the fire department this year compared to previous years.

Terry Megli said...

Dean, I find it so refreshing to read information from someone we can really trust. Your information is simple, to the point and definately relevant to the questions we need answers to. Keep posting my friend, you are doing a fantastic job. Thanks.