Meet your candidates for the Municipal Election
Blair Painter MAYOR
Crowsnest Pass Herald
Since announcing my candidacy for Mayor, in July, I have listened to many people throughout our community and a few important concerns stand out. These concerns are the foundations of my platform and also reaffirm my original decision to enter this race: 1. We need small business prudence and plain, common sense at the council table. For example - hanging hard to read expensive banners on power poles when weeds grow through the cracks in the pavement below is not sound fiscal management. We must first properly maintain and protect our entire infrastructure which was left, in trust, by the generations of taxpayers who came before us. Only when this is properly accomplished and money is left over, can we shift our attention to other worthwhile projects. 2. We need to ensure a proper budget process in the municipal office. Councillors must see the entire budget package that shows both sides of the ledger, and not, as we have recently witnessed, bits and pieces of the budget papers presented to council. We need proper fiscal discipline at the budget table and it is obvious, to many of us, this has been lacking during the current administration. 3. We don’t need big promises, task force reports and expensive consultants for every impending decision. Especially troubling to many of us taxpayers of this small community, was seeing our scarce tax resources squandered on Public Relations Consultants, especially after hiring so many new people in our administrative office. Communicating with our taxpayers should not be farmed out to strangers in Edmonton. 4. We need to respect and properly value our volunteers. Volunteerism is the cornerstone and heart of a small community like ours. This is especially important today. Our province is now running a deficit and because of this, we will be forced to rely more heavily on our own resources. 5. We need to be concerned about the morale of our municipal workers. High morale leads to a happier and more productive workforce and this, in turn, benefits all taxpayers. Empowering and trusting our frontline workers should be an important goal for our administration, and a necessary step in creating a stronger community.
6. We need to move on. In the next few days we will see the release of the investigation into our municipal affairs by the Office of the Minister. Many of us believe that, no matter what the conclusions of this report, it is time to put this behind us and concentrate on the upcoming election. Whatever problems we have, it is up to us to fix them. We have amazing, talented people in this community and WE can get our house in order. 7. We must properly value our seniors. It was especially troubling to many residents that, in order to make our last tax hike appear less severe, council removed an already budgeted contribution to senior housing. This is precisely the ad hoc budget behaviour we must stop. Had councillors looked at the whole picture, they would have seen that there were other, more appropriate areas that could have been cut. 8. We must properly examine the cost and effectiveness of our policing. This applies both to the RCMP and to the Peace Officers. It should not impress anyone when someone stands in front of council and declares that $200,000 worth of traffic fines were handed out. It is council’s job to know exactly how much of this money comes back to us, and how much the entire policing effort costs our taxpayers. 9. We need to work with our neighbours, whether in the M.D. of Pincher Creek, M.D. of Ranchlands, or just over the border in B.C. Frankly, many of us were embarrassed by what has transpired between our council and the M.D. of Ranchlands. We need mature analysis of the costs and benefits of any ideas of annexation or of any future revenue sharing. We should offer the Australian coalminers real and credible assistance and not use their proposed mine to score cheap political points. Most of all, we must avoid any grandstanding on these important and complicated issues.
If elected, I will work with the rest of council and have an open and respectful exchange of ideas in an open public forum. We must strive to make the residents of the Crowsnest Pass feel as if they are part of the entire process and that council is there to listen and represent their wishes. Only when people feel respected and part of the process will they give their trust to those who lead them. Effective communication is essential if we want to move our community forward. I am excited to see what we can accomplish together.