Rimbey Mayor Rick Pankiw admits he doesn’t have a crystal ball to foresee the future of the town of which he has served as mayor for more than four years, but still he is looking ahead in a positive light.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Holding the line on taxes last year played havoc with the reserves and forced the town to dip into their savings a little more than he would have liked, but Pankiw pointed out there is always “good and bad” to holding the line on taxes.
Presently, Pankiw, along with all of town council, is waiting to see where the assessments come in to determine the tax rate for 2018.
Unfortunately, the town relies on the tax base to offset the annual costs associated with operating the town.
“Our only ability to collect money is through taxes,” Pankiw said.
The town’s capital budget sees the water well drilling project as requiring a rather large chunk of change ($640,000), but as Pankiw pointed out, a new well is necessary should one of the other wells fail and/or the population increases.
He noted the Simpson Road, a $200,000 project, is to be completed this year. The project is jointly funded with Ponoka County.
Street overlays at a cost of $610.000 and a community centre back up generator for $100,000 is also part of the capital budget for 2018.
On the bright side, Pankiw is looking forward to occupancy of the new seniors’ lodge.
“It is a lovely facility,” he said. “Personally, it is a huge achievement for me as I was involved right from the onset.”
The mayor is hopeful the provincial government will step up to the plate and decide on a future use for Parkland Manor.
“We are still waiting,” he said.
Looking back over the last decade, he noted that Rimbey has continued to experience a population increase. He is also pleased to note the store fronts on main street are almost all full.
He hopes the town will work closely with the chamber in the new year to encourage business.
As 2018 begins, Mayor Rick Pankiw wishes everyone a happy and prosperous new year. He encourages anyone with questions or concerns to stop by his office.
“My door is always open,” he said.