It hardly seems possible but December is upon us and we have now been on the job for just over a month.
In that time, we have been working hard to get up to speed on key issues like CUI and taxes. We continue to learn about our issues and opportunities through the workshops and orientation seminars City staff have provided to us. They have offered over 40 hours of training and we appreciate Administration’s efforts very much.
I am pleased to let you know that once we set our Strategic Plan in mid-December, we will be bringing the 2018 budget up for review. We have also begun meeting with CUI’s board to determine the best path forward on utilities. While we are still gathering the details of our situation, we have clearly expressed Council’s intent to find relief in utility costs where possible.
We’ve also been quick to tackle other priorities like revising the Council recording policy (recordings are now available longer and at no cost), requesting a plan to rebuild trust and collaboration between the City and the community, adopting a Council communication plan, and passing a Council Code of Conduct Bylaw. The Mayor’s office has also been moved to the main floor of City Hall to be more accessible to you so feel free to stop by anytime.
Council recently attended the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conference in Calgary where we participated in learning and networking opportunities. At that conference, we heard from the Premier and other Provincial Ministers that they are going to be looking for ways to ‘tighten their belt’ which could very well impact municipalities. We don’t know the details of what that means yet but we will take it into consideration as we look at the 2018 budget.
In between our meetings and training, we’ve been pleased to be part of several community events like Remembrance Day, the opening of Cobs Bread’s 100th franchise, the Winter Lights Festival and the Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Breakfast. If you have an event you would like us to attend, please let us know. Our contact information is available at www.chestermere.ca/council.
Finally, I’ve heard some concerns about the Letters of Intent that Council recently accepted for parcels in the City’s Webster Industrial Park. We are pleased to see interest in our industrial land and I am happy to discuss any questions you may have about the thorough information we were provided before accepting these letters. As subdivision plans have not yet been presented, the Webster project is still in a conceptual phase and I want to assure you that accepting these letters in no way handcuffs our decisions for the future. If you have questions about this or any other decision, I invite you to contact us at any time.
On behalf of Council, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to you and your family this holiday season. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and look forward to working for you in 2018.