We need to be smarter about how we spend tax dollars.
$100,000 TV screens, transit systems that are more expensive than their alternatives, and massive cost overruns on infrastructure projects are just not acceptable.
That's why I am running for Mayor. We need to change this thinking in order to build a better Beaumont.
Every program we fund, every grant we issue, every project we undertake will be reviewed to make sure you get value for every one of your dollars we spend.
“Just because we’ve always done it like this” is not an acceptable response.
Core services - like garbage and snow removal - must be funded to a sufficient level. We've seen cuts in service levels to both of these programs over the past years, while property taxes have increased.
In order to save $3 per household, the Town cut garbage service back to bi-weekly. Ultimately, though, this cutback was caused by a failure to adequately manage our landfill with our regional partners. Our landfill is one of the only public landfills in the province to accept commercial waste. While this generates some revenue for us, it has caused the landfill to reach its capacity far too quickly. Council should work with our regional partners to manage the landfill and extend its life, rather than force service cuts on our residents.
Council chose to overcommit Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grants from the province to a single project that was massively over budget, rather than the roads, sewers and other hard infrastructure the grant program was intended to support.
Recreational facilities, community and performing arts centres are part of what makes a town a community. They provide central gathering places, and meet the recreational, cultural and social needs of our friends and neighbours. They need to be designed and built with care. Recently, Town Council has chosen to proceed with design work for a $30 million expansion to the Aqua Fit facility that will not meet even the current needs of residents.
A single sheet of ice and field house is a band-aid solution for a short time, while parents are still driving their kids to New Sarepta at 4:30 am for ice time, or West End Edmonton for indoor soccer time.
Our town deserves a long term solution to these needs. And we must seek out advice from those who know how to effectively and cost-efficiently build and manage these facilities. I've reached out for advice to Patrick Laforge, a family friend who knows a thing or two about building community ice facilities. We will also need to find creative solutions to locate and fund these facilities. I've reached out to Bruce Walker and Harry Zuzak, with the Beaumont and District Agricultural Society, who both have ideas for how to find funding and a cost effective location for just such a multi-use facility.
It's exactly these kind of conversations that will help us build a facility that is expandable to meet our needs for decades to come - and to do it without breaking the bank.
This is how we will build a better Beaumont.