Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Council Message for Christmas, 2016

Following is my message in the Town of Killam Christmas Newsletter, for those who would not see it in their mailbox.

On behalf of my family & I, we wish you a Merry Christmas & the best for 2017.


Bud James

As the year 2016 draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few recent happenings regarding the Town of Killam government.

Our Council, along with Council members from all the other Flagstaff area communities, have been working on determining the best way to move forward as a regional community.  Regional Governance and what that looks like is a conversation we all must have.  Each of us has challenges keeping an acceptable level of service while keeping property taxes reasonable.  Our provincial government has let it be known that future funding for municipalities will be, in large part, tied to cooperation & partnerships.  We have asked for your input as we have been working through this.  The work continues and we will need you to be engaged in this discussion moving forward.

In August we were very pleased to have Hon. Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health for Government of Alberta, and Ed Stelmach, Chair of Covenant Health, in Killam to announce the Killam Health Centre Continuing Care Unit upgrade.  This building upgrade and accompanying change in operations will have a very positive impact on the residents at our Continuing Care facility.  While you may not see much in the way of construction over the winter, the addition will come together quickly starting in spring 2017.  This will be followed by the renovation phase, with completion expected in 2018. 

This project, along with various others, has brought the total amount of Development Permits issued (to date) for 2016 to $10,262,500. 

Our residential subdivision project is on hold pending approval from Alberta Environment for 
a roadway to be built near the waterway.  The delay means we must, unfortunately, wait to 
break ground until the spring of 2017. The contractors who have been awarded the project 
through a tendering process have committed to hold their pricing for the 2017 construction 
season, with negotiations required for possible Material increases.
You may remember that Council committed to a 0% increase in property tax revenue in 2016.  We are, unfortunately, unable to make the same commitment for 2017, and have instructed Administration to prepare a budget based on an increase of 2.5%.  Council is keenly aware that property taxes are a major expense for every homeowner and business owner, and we constantly are challenging Administration to find savings in the budget for each department.  However, a slight increase in revenue is required to offset costs.  Please note that there is a monthly option to paying your property taxes but this must be set up prior to year end – please contact the Town Office for more information. 

Your Council has started the final year of their 4 year term of office, and we will once again be having a general election for Alberta municipalities in October 2017.  Do you think you may want to run for municipal government?  If so please contact me or another one of our current Council members for a confidential discussion on what this would mean for you in terms of time commitment and obligations.  Alternatively there are other opportunities to find this out – contact CAO Kim Borgel for more information.

Those of us who follow the political discourse – local, regional or national – will likely agree that these conversations lately have been quite nasty.  This is very unfortunate to see & hear, and very disconcerting to be a part of.  Our Council has, to their credit, chosen to rise above this by reaffirming their commitment to a Councillor Code of Conduct.  They, like I, believe it is fair to debate the issues, but inappropriate to attack the individual whose opinion may differ from ours.  My colleagues have deliberately committed to this in words and in actions, and I want to thank them for this and for their continuing good work on behalf of the citizens of Killam.

As well, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Town of Killam Administration team for their hard work & dedication.  On a daily basis they demonstrate an incredible pride in their community and profound respect for each & every tax dollar you entrust us with.
In Killam we like to say we are living “Life Without Compromise”, and I believe 2016 demonstrates this very well.  We have much to be thankful for and a future full of promise.

On behalf of my Council colleagues and all our families, I wish our citizens, our neighbours, and our friends all a Merry Christmas and the very best for 2017.


Bud James