The rest of the statement I started above is: Figures don’t lie, but liars and those with special agendas will manipulate figures to their own understanding and advantage. I am not calling anyone a liar, and most certainly invite sincere questions about council’s actions.
I know and like Sheldon Ibbotson and shop at his store regularly, and I know Sheldon would never intentionally, with a full understanding of all the information, present a polarizing and divisive issue before the residents of Rimbey. I believe Sheldon, like me, loves Rimbey and wants to see it continue to move forward. I will be 65 this year and my wife and I, (15-year residents), love Rimbey and will ultimately make it our retirement location. We are both involved in volunteer roles in the community and if you’ve never met us, I invite everyone to come to our current endeavor operating the “Park Café” for a breakfast on Saturday morning and help us support the historical society.
Now on to answering Sheldon’s questions and making some additional comparisons.
Making a comparison based solely on council costs without evaluating what has been delivered is grossly unfair. Take for instance these bits of information: Rimbey has generated in excess of $80 million worth of building permits and improvement to infrastructure in the last six years. That equates to $13,333,333 per year, divided among five on council works out to $2,666,666 per councillor per year. If you go back to 1995-1998, when a past mayor who was defeated by Dale Barr was in office, there was a total of $3.7 million worth of building permits over his three years, that equalled $1,233,333 per year, divided by five councillors for $246,666 per year.
I don’t know when Sheldon last served on council, and would invite him to provide the economic comparison values he added to Rimbey when he served.
Thanks to Sheldon, I will use two of the towns that he used to compare per capita spending on mayor’s salary, but he talked about mayor and councillors’ salaries as well. So let’s separate and evaluate councillors’ expenses from a few of those communities he brought into the equation on a per capita basis.
Town Population Total Salary Council Salary
for Councillors per Capita
Rimbey 2496 $82,172 $32.92
Turner Valley 2022 $80,888 $40.01
Redwater 2,100 $107,675 $50.88
Based on the same type of comparison that Sheldon used, you can see Rimbey is the lowest per capita for councillors’ expenditures by a substantial margin. So let’s take a look at other dimensions of two of these communities. Redwater, over the last nine years, has had a population decrease of almost 200 people, or 10 per cent of their population. Rimbey on the other hand, over the same time, has had a population increase to 2,496 from 2,154 or approximately 14.4 per cent.
Speaking of the Town of Redwater, they are currently hiring an individual to fill an economic development officer’s chair at a budgeted cost of $139,000 per year. Redwater, like Eckville and Breton, which also experienced a population downturn right through the heart of an oil boom in Alberta, are scrambling to attract economic development. Rocky Mountain House, Ponoka and Turner Valley also budget for economic development officers with budgets of $100,000 to $154,000 You might want to talk to Redwater and Turner Valley on the number of empty storefronts in their communities.
Now, about the comments from our absentee Rimbey Review editor. I took offence at your comments in your opinion column in the Aug. 10 edition. I take exception to you including yourself as part of our community with a comment like, “most of us were surprised to see that Mayor Dale Barr was paid.” How do you come off making that statement, implying that you are part of our community? I have been on council for nine years, neither I, nor any of the rest of council, have met and or been interviewed by you.
You are the editor of the Rimbey Review only as a result of economic decisions by your paper’s ownership; the last resident editor we had was Rob Gilgan. Since then we have had a parade of inexperienced and probably underpaid junior reporters. I challenge you to come and meet and interview me and or the rest of council and or really get involved in our community.
By the way, I will continue to shop at Sheldon’s Store and support our community, I encourage others not to let divisive, polarizing attempts by negative past politicians or those residents with special agenda hurt our community.
Are there real issues to be examined in the upcoming election? If you have concerns and want to express them and or call to express your support, my phone number is 403-843-4842.