Following a motion made at our CCTA meeting last night I am writing to address some of the issues brought forward.
Notice of support. First of all we would like to express our support for your involvement in promoting the improvement of telecommunications in the county. We strongly feel that better internet service is vital for assisting established businesses as well as stimulating further economic development.
Also, we encourage you to lobby the provincial government for a complete and thorough investigation into matters surrounding supernet access. According to information presented at our meeting last night, Alberta taxpayers have at least partially funded this installment, but are now being forced to pay exorbitantly for access to it. This, in turn, presents a significant hardship to companies who could assist with the provision of better internet service. Ultimately it makes it less affordable for the potential user who has, really, already paid for the service.
Concerns regarding the land development on the Airport Road. At the May 30 meeting at Dovercourt Hall it was mentioned that further meetings would be held and that decisions will be made according to what the people want. This brings forward three concerns:
Timing of the meetings. We are soon into the months of July and August, typically holiday months. People are often gone and unable to either read their local papers to get meeting notifications or attend the meeting.
Transparency/meeting notification. We are concerned how you plan to keep taxpayers informed about future plans. We had very positive comments/results from the wrap we arranged with the Western Star and suggest that the county do something similar. People need easily accessible information in order to form an opinion which will, then, encourage them to attend meetings. Comment was made last night that the county’s notices of meetings need to be larger, more colorful, and in a more prominent place (e.g. front page). It was noted that using the Western Star is likely the most helpful advertising venue as it goes to almost every county taxpayer, unlike The Mountaineer which is by subscription only. Furthermore, not all taxpayers have computers and/or internet service.
Assessing taxpayer support. Considering the potentially large expenditure of taxpayer dollars, we strongly feel there is a need to accurately assess taxpayer support. This was also a concern expressed at the May 30th meeting.
Making this assessment could be done simply and economically by a mail out survey or by a more costly vote/plebiscite. It is crucial that decisions are then made according to the wishes of the majority. We certainly appreciate that this importance was recognized by council and we are now wondering how it will be achieved.
In conclusion, we thank you for your attention to these concerns and look forward to your reply. You are welcome to reply via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
County’s May 30 meeting: There was standing room only at the Dovercourt Hall when county council held an information meeting regarding their plans for development on the property north of Rocky. Reeve Alexander began by describing their plans and the reasons for them. This was followed by questions/comments from the floor. He concluded the meeting by saying council intended on having a couple more public meetings and would then make their decisions based on “what people want”.
Concerns raised at the meeting
Too much money spent on the purchase price ($1.67 million).
Uncertainty of linear assessment income for the county due to economy and potential changes by provincial government on this funding structure.
Potential loss of property tax revenue from oil companies (and maybe others) unable to pay. A company out of Calgary has already given notice that they may not be able to pay this year’s property tax. This would be a $3, 000,000 hit to the county.
Questionable revenue from the sale of town lots/buildings. $4,500,000 of anticipated revenue is budgeted for Phase 2 of the project. This is 69% of the total revenue needed for this phase. Concerns were raised about the projected selling price as well as the possibility of not selling at all due to the contamination from the salt/sand storage there.
Comments were made as to the need for 81 offices for current use and 39 for the future.
It was reiterated, again, that there is rental space available in Rocky and that the possibility of staff working from home should be investigated.
Comments were also made on the size of the buildings and a comparison made to the smaller work spaces Pidherneys functions with very successfully.
Greater need for other services
Comments were made of the need to maintain reserves for necessary items such as roads and bridges.
Several comments were made that a more beneficial expenditure of money would be to improve telecommunications. This would have a far greater positive effect on creating an innovative economy than new buildings.
Show of support: One attendee asked for a show of hands to indicate support for or against the developments. The result was an over-whelming vote opposed to the projects.
Continued action/involvement necessary: The final decisions have not yet been made. As Reeve Alexander said at the close of the meeting they would make their decisions “ACCORDING TO WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT”. Consequently it is crucial that we:
Attend future meetings
Call our councillors to express our opinion and ask for up-dates.
The first rose goes to all the people who attended the meeting on May 30. It was awesome to see the huge turn-out. People were generally respectful and expressed excellent comments, concerns, and questions.
The second rose goes to the councillors for the format of the meeting which allowed people to hear, equally, the information, questions, and comments presented.
The third rose goes to the many people who have bought memberships and/or donated money to help support the CCTA and the Clearwater Action Committee. Your support benefitted all county residents as it helped fund the excellent wrap that was on the May 18th issue of the Western Star. This gave everyone very important information about the potential developments.
RANT: This month’s rant is short and sweet. It is absolutely crucial that the people’s voice continue to be heard. Reeve Alexander is on record saying that people’s opinion will dictate their decisions. Let’s make sure the “promise” is up-held.
Thursday, June 16, 7:30PM, Leslieville Elks’ Hall, Regular monthly CCTA meeting (one week later than normal due to Rocky Rodeo.)