In the upcoming municipal election, there are seven candidates running for the six councillor positions available in Morinville. These candidates are hoping to serve residents for the next four years, a job that will take a lot of their time, that will require much effort, and one that will make them responsible for guiding and shaping the future and direction of the community.
The Morinville News asked each of the hopeful candidates what they believe will be the most significant area of focus for the Town’s next crop of municipal politicians during their term.
If you had to select one single issue as the major issue the Morinville’s Council will face within the next four years, what would that issue be? Why is this the major issue and what does the Town need to do about it?
Scott Richardson, first time candidate:
One of the major issues this Council will face is the decision to either obtain city status or continue on as a town; this decision will have to be made once Morinville hits the 10,000 population milestone. One of the pros that I see is having ‘city’ status would attract more business and make Morinville more attractive in the eyes of investors. Attracting more business to town is definitely something that needs to be done in order to lessen the burden of taxes on the residents of Morinville. The process of growing in new business will be a delicate task: we will have to work with our current local businesses who have serviced our community for years and attract new business to fill voids, all while fostering free enterprise.
On the other hand if Morinville was to change to ‘city’ status, the municipality would be responsibilities for Secondary Highway 642 (which runs down the main street in Morinville). This is a big fact to consider and the new council would have to ask some important questions about these responsibilities. What cost would Morinville incur from this transition? What grants or funding from the Province for the highway would cease, and how will this affect the budget? At the end of the day it’s a community decision, there will need to be some open dialog and community consultation.
Nicole Boutestein, incumbent:
I think fiscal responsibility and finding a balance that keeps Morinville an affordable place to live will be one of many issues we will be faced with; however, this particular issue should be a priority. With the development of the new recreation facility we will need to tighten our spending. Council, along with administration, needs to find ways to trim the budget without reducing service levels and to immediately start seeking corporate and municipal sponsorships, along with donations for the new recreation facility (as this will reduce the impact on our budget, now and in the future). This is an amazing addition to our community but the entire financial responsibility can not fall upon Morinville residents only.
Sarah Hall, first time candidate: