Ask-A-Candidate Question 19

Editor’s Note: As part of our ongoing coverage of Election 2010, is accepting question from our readers, which will be published anonymously for candidates to answer. Please note that only candidates will be able to respond to the questions asked by our readers. Links to questions asked will be archived in our Ask-A-Candidate section. See link in navigation bar above.


Two part question:

1) Reading all the previous questions and answers, I want to thank
Mayor Bertschi for his response and involvement in this online forum.
I would like to hear from the other Mayoral candidate Mr. Trapani for
his responses. You’ve been on Council for the last three years and
are familiar with these issues, where is your response? What are your
answers to the relevant questions #12, 13, 14, 17 and 18?

2) Mr. Bertschi, as incumbent Mayor, what is your focus for the next
term? What are your top 3 priorities or initiatives that you wish to accomplish, and how will you carry them out?

To the challenger Mr. Trapani: Same questions: What is your focus for the next term? What are your top 3 priorities or initiatives that you wish to accomplish, and how will you carry them out?

To both candidates: please save the general rhetoric and campaign platitudes; be specific.

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  1. PLEASE NOTE – Only Candidates may post comments to this posting. welcomes reader comments on our articles, but we wish to keep these particular segments open for candidates alone so that readers do not have to separate who is and is not vying for their vote.

  2. Good morning The top three priorities (in no particular order) for the next three years will be:
    1) Sensible financial management. The Town has come a very long way to becoming financially sustainable over the past number of years. We have completed a reserve fund study and have been diligently putting funds into the reserves that were identified. A few of the reserves are fully funded while the others have at least some funds in them but are not yet at the minimum level we need to have. As Mayor I will ensure the reserve funds are all funded to at least the minimum level by the end of this three year term. As Mayor I will ensure this policy is maintained. I also beleive the days of huge tax increases to “catch up” are behind us. As Mayor for the next three years I believe we can keep tax increases to the rate of inflation.

    2) Provide a Safe Community. I believe it is imperative for us to provide a safe community for our families. Protective services, including the RCMP, Peace Officers and our Volunteer Fire Department is the second highest cost in our budget. Money well spent. We try to maintain a maximum of 1 RCMP officer per 1,000 people in our community. As Mayor I will continue to support this “formula”. We have recently changed our enforcement services from By Law Officers to Peace Officers. We have also doubled the number of officers we have. This results in increased responsibilities for the Officers that will help in maintaining a safe community in addition to enforcing the Town Bylaws. As Mayor, if there is a need to further increase the numbers of Peace Officers to ensure we have a safe community then I will support that. Much has been said about photo radar and for my complete comments please see my response to “Ask a candidate” Question 9. the short answer is I fully support photo radar as a public safety issue. Also as Mayor I believe we need to have a well trained and properly equipped volunteer fire department to provide protection for our homes and businesses. I am the son of a former volunteer fireman who retired after 33 years of service. I completely understand the challenges faced by a volunteer department and have clearly demonstrated my support in the past for our Fire Department. As Mayor for the next three years, that will not change. I encourage everyone to keep a look out for the latest addition to the fire departments fleet as the new $1.1 milion dollar aerial/pumper fire truck is due to arrive very soon.

    3. Maintain our current infrastructure. The Council has established a policy that the water and sewer utilites will be self supporting and not subsidized from the property taxes. The wastewater rates are now at full cost recovery and the water rates will be either in 2011 or 2012. This does result in higher water and sewer charges when compared to most Municipalities in the Province. However, when fully established we will be among only 8% of municipalities across North America that have a long term fully funded plan to maintain and replace our utility infrastructure. Short term pain for long term gain. Out of sight out of mind is not a very good approach to infrastructure management. Unfortunately, in the past most municipalites have used this approach and that has resulted in a $123 Billion infrastructure deficit across the Nation. I am very proud to say, not one single cent of that deficit is in Morinville. As Mayor for the next three years I will ensure this policy is maintained.

    I know these three main priorities have been called boring and certainly would not make any ones “sexy” priority list. However, I absolutely believe if we are to be a viable community in the future these three priorities need to be the top of the list. As Mayor I will certainly try to ensure the next council has these as their priorities as well.


  3. Thank you for the questions and your concerns.

    To start off, I would like to say sorry to have disappointed you (it was not my intend). I know I been behind on answering questions, but, I was busy putting up signs, going door to door, talking to thousands of Morinville residents, and doing my duties as your new Mayor, listening to the people of Morinville. If that means other things must wait, then it will. I can only be at one place at the time. To be fair to our readers, why didn’t you also mention that Mayor Bertschi did not answer Questions 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10?

    My top three priorities: These priorities are what we are not presently doing or have, but need so Morinville can survive as a community. This is over and above the everyday stuff that Council need to do; such as infrastructure, safety, and fiscal management of our resident funds (budget).

    Listening to the Community:

    I will listen and implement all great ideas that we received (not just shelf them). We need to be having Town Hall Meetings (tell us what you think on what we are doing, good or bad in an open forum), Youth Council/Committee (we need to hear from our future leaders on what they want to see and not see in our community), having Council meeting at the Schools (students learn about politics at an early age, but do not get to experience or see the real world on how it really work). We need to have an attitude of “Lets Work Together”

    Economic Development:

    Morinville needs more businesses; that is why I will be starting a Morinville Economic Development Committee because; there are businesses out there that want to come to Morinville however; have no one to speak to or anywhere to go to get information. We have a “bandage” solution now and it is not working.

    However this does not mean hiring an Economic Development Officer, I will be asking Morinville residents and Business Owners to be part of this committee and their mandate is to pursue new businesses for Morinville without hindering the present businesses we presently have.

    Why this committee, first we need to do an inventory of what we have (land. infrastructure, list of businesses, what our businesses now can support), then we need to look at the future (1 to 10 and even 50 years from now) on what Morinville should and wants to look like. Then we need an inventory on what we need in Morinville (and not what would be nice), then we need to come out with a business plan, information package (for future businesses, small or big) so on arrival of their site selectors we are ready for them. Finally we need to go out and advise the world that Morinville is Open for Business and all are Welcome.

    We need to start educating our citizens to SHOP LOCALLY – that also includes the Town administration and Council members. Morinville has a population of over 7600 and there is no reason why they can’t shop and save here. Our prices are comparable and in some cases if you add the cost of gas to go to St. Albert or Edmonton they are paying more.

    Taxes, Utilities Charges vs. Municipal Services.

    We all heard it before; we will keep the taxes down and so on… Morinville residents understand that our tax rates are one of the lowest in the area, but they also know that we have one of the highest utilities cost in the area. Making Morinville in the middle of the pack.

    Hearing residents on my campaign trail; they are stating that they are not getting their money worth; Taxes/Fees vs. Services. Streets not being cleaned often enough during the winter and summer, garbage (loss of the landfill pass and the price we pay for the new one), bylaw enforcement not enough in some areas and too much in another, paying extra for services coming from the Town office (specially our development department) and so on.

    That’s why I will review the overall service structure of the Town of Morinville. We need to start from customer services to making our infrastructures work for now and the future.

    The above are my priorities, Council as a Whole will have others that we will need to deal with (team work) However, if we do what we are suppose to be doing (every day Council work) such as, sound budgeting and fiscal management, working on a safe community, taking care of our access and looking in the future for a better Morinville, as your new Mayor I am stating that Morinville will be the town to be at.

    Thank You

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