by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
Coun. Nicole Boutestein’s name will appear on the ballot during Morinville’s next municipal election; she said running again was an easy decision to make. “Quite a while ago, I think even at the beginning of this year, I decided I would run again…The Town is in such a huge transition period right now, and I don’t want to lose any of the momentum we have going,” she noted.
Boutestein remarked she has the time, the skills and the experience needed to be an effective councillor. She was first elected to Morinville’s Council in 2010, and then again in 2013.
The Councillor said there is a lot of work to be done over the next four years. “My big thing is fiscal responsibility though,” she said, “we—as a community—need to look at our wants versus needs.” Boutestein said that keeping taxes low is important and that money needs to be going into reserves, so there are funds aside for residents’ future needs (whether it be for a new curling rink, a pool, enhanced trail systems, or anything else).
The Town should also be aggressive in its pursuit of partnerships and securing grants to pay for its biggest upcoming capital project, the recreation centre, she added.
“Morinville needs to be an affordable place to live,” explained Boutestein, who stressed that Council’s number one job is to prepare the Town’s annual budget. She compared tax dollars to that of a household budget, saying we need to “live within our means.”
Other issues Boutestein said are at the forefront of the next Council’s job are things like on-going support of the Town’s other capital projects, economic development, and that we will need to decide where, we as a community, we want to go regarding city status, or staying as a town.
Boutestein also talked about connectivity and encouraging public participation in the decisions that are being made at Town Hall. There may be value, she said, in organizing an open house (or town hall) type event with different segments of Town throughout the year. “Something in an informal setting, where people can come out and talk to us about their concerns around their neighbourhoods; or even what they like about them, things they don’t want to change…It’s hard sometimes for people to speak at our more formal events, so this could be a way to get more involvement,” she said.
A 40-year resident of the Town, Boutestein works for Jostens Canada as an Accounts Manager, where she works remotely from home and provides service to over 200 schools in Alberta, BC, and Nunavet. Her role on Council keeps her quite busy, she explained, as she is currently a member on 19 different committees and boards.
Most notably, Boutestein has been an active voice on the Traffic Advisory Committee and is one of the representatives of the Town on the Capital Region Board. She also has experience as part of the Community Services Advisory Board, the Emergency Management Board, and as the Council Representative with the Morinville Chamber of Commerce.
“If I’m re-elected, I want people to know that I’m there because I work for the [residents of Morinville]. I’m not afraid to ask questions and work hard, I look at the facts, and I am accountable to the community because that is an essential part of doing this job, one that nearly 10,000 people hire you to do,” she said.
The municipal election takes place on October 16, with advanced voting open on October 4 and 14 (in the Council Chambers at St. Germain Place).
Stay tuned next week for additional election coverage when the Morinville News will be publishing a three-part series, asking a set of questions to each of the Morinville Councillor candidates.