Running for: Lacombe County Division 4 Councillor
Why do you want to serve on county council?
I am running for County Councillor because I am a strong believer in “Service Above Self”. Over the years I’ve been a coach, a youth leader, a church board member, part of the CACHS Maintenance committee, a board member or President of organizations like the Lacombe Rotary Club, Canadian Agri-Marketing Association, the Alberta Farm Writer’s Association, Lacombe and District Ag Society and the Government of Alberta’s Advisory Council for Alberta Ukraine Relations. When our Division Four Councillor (and Reeve) Paula Law announced she was retiring I realized that I was uniquely qualified to serve my community as Councillor.
What do you feel you can bring to council?
Lacombe County’s Division Four is a mix of productive farms, vibrant hamlets and acreages, and successful businesses. I work in the agriculture sector every day and enjoy life on our one-acre lot in Rosedale Valley when I’m at home. Those two perspectives give me a unique ability to understand and appreciate our residents’ desires and concerns while working with the other councillors and the County Manager to successfully plan for the future.
What is your vision for the community/what are your priorities if you are elected?
I am a big fan of Lacombe County. I know how fortunate we are to have a knowledgeable, stable administration meeting the needs of our residents and businesses. I don’t have an axe to grind and I have no specific item I want changed. My priority is to support the County Manager and work with the other councillors to make decisions that are beneficial to the residents and provide guidance to the administration. With that said, there are three issues I will pursue if elected:
• Crime and Policing.
I have spoken to many Division Four residents and most are concerned about crime. Unfortunately, that worry seems to be perpetual. Concerns about policing is a more immediate matter. Most of the residents I’ve spoken with would like to see more police presence. Our reality, however, is that the RCMP’s recent collective agreement will likely mean that the County will have to spend more money to offer the current level of policing. It is critical, therefore, that we take this opportunity to discuss and decide what our residents want for policing and search for a cost-effective model to try to deliver it.
• Bad Debt
I was surprised to see how negatively Lacombe County has been impacted by unpaid taxes – especially from oil & gas companies who are either in arrears or bankrupt. The allowance for doubtful accounts (taxes unlikely to be paid) has grown exponentially from $100,000 in 2015 to $1,521,251 in 2020. It appears that what once was a reliable source of income has quickly become a significant risk. We must find ways to sustainably reduce our exposure to bad debt.
Rural residents everywhere continue to be frustrated by the few options for reliable internet services. Our reliance on the internet will continue to increase. It is important that the County has a robust connectivity strategy to help residents ensure they are not at a technological disadvantage. At the very least we can find ways to ensure County residents understand their options. It does not necessarily mean we have invest in infrastructure.
What is your professional experience and how do you feel it will lend itself to municipal government?
I’ve worked in agri-business for over 30 years across Canada and in parts of the US and Europe. I’ve been a successful entrepreneur and business owner for 15 years. I’ve been a Certified Management Consultant since 2013. I value strong planning and good governance. I read financial statements fluently and work hard to ensure a strong return on social and financial resources.