StettlerLocal.com October 4, 2021 8:20am
Why are you running?
Because I care. There is still work to be done.
What riding are you running for?
Ward 3 Botha-Gadsby (rural with 2 Hamlets)
What is your background?
Prior to my position as Reeve, I worked in the oilfield for 35 years, completing my career as a District Manager for a major oil & gas producer. My designation as a Certified Engineering Technologist proves my professionalism & credibility. Dealings with the public, paired with the responsibility for operating & maintaining capital budgets, which ran into the billions of dollars for my district, have prepared me to navigate the diverse needs & attitudes as well as balancing a budget. I am well versed in safety programs & looking at asset management plans. This, along with human resources training, has given me the tools to work with the council, our CAO, & her staff in bringing our vision to life. I was one of the founding members of the Gadsby Water Coop & was the Chairman and currently chair of the Shirley McCLellan Water Commission. While working in the oilfield, I continued to grow my family farm & both positions have taught me that hard work typically pays off.
What do you hope to accomplish if you win?
Maintaining wonderful relationships we’ve worked hard to create with the Town of Stettler, our MLA, cabinet ministers, other municipalities, & the Rural Municipalities of Alberta is a focus. I also want to ensure businesses in our county are treated fairly & equitably; this means ensuring that development permits, policies, & bylaws all follow the Municipal Government Act (MGA) & that all businesses are held to the same levels of accountability. I will additionally prioritize:
a. Continuation of road rejuvenation projects.
b. Proper hamlet maintenance.
c. Review of water supply to rural residents.
d. Working through Intercolabarative frameworks (ICF's) to ensure all shared services (emergency management, waste management, etc.) are fairly paid by all municipalities so that County of Stettler ratepayers are not subsidizing our neighbors. e. Resolving ongoing legal litigations between the County of Stettler & non-compliant contractors and ratepayers.
Anything else you would like to let people know?
I want to continue representing the people of the County of Stettler as councilor for Ward 3. There are projects and visions that I want to see through and I am ready to keep working to help make our community the best it can be for us and future generations. With a steep learning curve in municipal politics due to a changing MGA & ruling provincial government, our council worked together to accomplish many goals last term. With the threat of MSI Grants being greatly reduced or eliminated, we must continue to scrutinize the budget & service levels as they directly impact taxes.
While we still have work to do, there are many things that I’m proud to have helped achieve over the last 4 years:
Lobbying the provincial government on the reduction of property tax on shallow gas. We saved the COS $860,000 per year (approx. $2.6- $3.7 million total) by going to legislature, lobbying, & spending countless hours planning with other municipalities.
Introduced open & transparent live streaming of all council, MPC, & ASB meetings in 2018.
We’ve set up tax repayment agreements with all but 1 of the deficient oil & gas companies to recover taxes (conversations are still ongoing).
0% tax increase over the past 4 years, except for 2021 with only a 2% increase in agricultural taxes ($34 000/year). These increases will protect programs & reduce ag services costs for ratepayers.
We have built our reserves to $13.2 Million which were $6.5 million in 2017.
Mediation to the development of the Buffalo Lake South Shore ASP to ensure lake development represents the county’s future wants & needs.
Reduced 10 full-time staff positions, resulting in a savings of $930,000 per year.
In 2020, reduced 22 seasonal staff positions due to Covid 19 and budget restraints, saving the county $600,000 for the year. We listened to the ratepayers and have since reinstated these positions which were very dependent on the financial recoveries mentioned above, in order to keep up with the quality of service being asked of us.
Replaced 6 bridges in 2020/2021 due to Federal/Provincial Stimulus grants (typically 1 per year).
Secured a 50-100 year supply of gravel for the COS.
My intention is to serve ALL 5500 residents in the fairest, most equitable manner possible. I believe my biggest asset is my experience and honesty. I'm very knowledgeable about the business & government. I am willing to listen, have the honesty, ethics & drive to follow through.
I represent the fourth generation of my family in the Gadsby area. I’m proud of the county & community that I was born and raised in, have raised my four girls in, and now am getting to watch some of my grandkids grow up in. This community has given me so much and I’m hoping to continue giving back to it. Our county’s reputation amongst our government ministries, RMA, & other municipalities is something we should all be proud of. Our CAO & her staff are professional & go above & beyond to ensure that all activities & operations are handled with due diligence to the MGA, while following direction of council to meet today’s needs of our rural community & set a plan to move us forward. Council’s collaboration & this drive to make the COS a leader as a member of the RMA makes me proud, & should make all residents be proud to belong in the COS. I want to create a bright & stable future for the future 6+ generations of my family in the beautiful County of Stettler.
Thank you to Larry Clarke for participating in our Candidate Spotlights.