Thank you on behalf of all of us on Council for your support in electing us to represent you in the next four years. You have decided to have four Councilors return for this term and you have chosen three "newbies". My first impressions are that you have done well. As the "newbies" try and catch up to issues, files, roles and responsibilities, the veterans have been great in welcoming us, helping out with the steep learning curve we expect in any new job, and providing context for previous Council decisions and direction.
On a personal note I was both honored and humbled by the support you gave me. I take your confidence seriously and feel driven to earn your trust in all we do together on Council.
Thank you is the theme for this article - and there are many thanks to pass along. All the staff have been so welcoming, accommodating, and patient with yet another change that they have to deal with. Some of you may not know that there have been a number of Chief Administrative Office (CAO) changes over the past few years. In addition, both staff and Council have had to deal with the tragedy of the death of a CAO that is difficult to imagine unless you live it. It has been said that change is the only constant in this life and the changes are not yet finished for staff and Council. Council is in the midst of searching for, and the hiring of a CAO. In the past years, the staff in the Town of Sundre has resiliently banded together as a family, like we all do in times of stress and tragedy, and they have done everything they can to provide us with the best service possible. They deserve your support, your patience and a pat on the back when you see the "good stuff" they do each and every day. Many of our wise grandparents have said, "you get what you give" and "you get more with honey than you do vinegar". When you have concerns, please come in or call. Staff and Council are here to serve you. Please let the staff know about the good stuff you see along with any concerns you might have. They are really trying to do the job that Council tells them to do.
Thank you to previous Council members, who are no longer part of Council, for your dedication to our community, your service, the sacrifices your families made, and for the good work and legacies you left. To Mayor Annette Clews, thank you for running a respectful campaign focused on issues and for the years of your life that you dedicated to a job not many people want. Thank you for all your efforts to support the work of local grassroots seniors and the Mountain View Seniors Housing Authority in securing a $3.8 million grant to provide choices in levels of care for seniors in our community. I assure you that Council will continue to do whatever is necessary to see that work through to completion.
To Cheri Funke, thank you for stepping up to sit on Council when nobody else did. I had the opportunity to speak with many of our residents aged 25-40. These are the people in our community that are "doing" everything - running kids around to activities, coaching, sitting on volunteer boards, volunteering at our schools. They are the heart and soul of our community. What they told me is that they wouldn't run for Council "because they thought they would just get beat up by the old guys". But you stepped up and represented the issues young families face, and I thank you on behalf of our community.
I remember sitting on Council when Pat Toone was Deputy Mayor and I was Mayor. If you were still on Council Pat, I would bet you would still be telling me what to do, and I would be grateful for your thoughts. Your legacy is one of service to your community. You have modeled a lifetime of dedication to Council, taking positions that represent people that sometimes don't have a voice, and you haven't been shy to share your opinion. Thank you to you and to your family for the sacrifices necessary to serve.
What has Council been doing? The first thing we got to do, before being sworn in, was to listen to a lawyer for four hours telling us what we can do and what we can't do. That was enlightening, and pretty common sense. Acting CAO Doug Wright has been great at trying to guide "the herd of cats" that is the new Council until we get to know each other, some of the background, and catch up on all the complex files and issues previous Council and staff were dealing with.
What is coming up for Council? Budget. Council will hear a lot of information next weekend as the staff brings us the proposed budget items for consideration. Council has to decide about taxes - up, down, the same. Staff will tell us the implications of those decisions to levels of service (e.g. snow removal - how much and how fast, arena hours of operation, water, sewer, and gas system reliability to name just a few). There is an open house for budget information to be presented to the public during the week of November 12-15 at the Town Office during business hours. Please come out to learn about the budget - and give Council and staff your thoughts. Last year there were 2 people who came to the open house - and only one wanted to talk about the budget. Enough said :)