By George A. Brown, editor
The month-long municipal election campaign ends Oct. 18 when you go into the booth to elect a mayor and councillors, and a school trustee. Those candidates with the time, the political resolve and a good pair of shoes, will have knocked on hundreds of doors seeking input from residents — and of course, support on election day.
In the short term it doesn’t matter who you elect to town council — water will still flow from your taps, garbage will continue to be collected and streets will still be plowed of snow — but still not frequently enough. The candidates we elect are pieces of an ever-changing puzzle. It takes all of the councillors and the mayor working together to accomplish their goals for the community; no single candidate can claim to be able to implement a vision for Rimbey if they don’t have the support of at least half of council.
Take a close look at the candidates running for town council and make an informed decision. Don’t feel that you have to vote for a full slate of four council candidates. This isn’t bingo; you don’t need a full card for the community to win. Pick only those candidates whose vision for Rimbey aligns with yours. Vote, because your voting power will influence the election and help to determine the community’s direction.
Top 10 reasons to vote on Oct. 18
1. Your vote will make a difference in who gets elected to council. There are examples of candidates at every level of government who have won and lost by just a few votes. Yes, you can still complain even if you don’t vote but you have more clout on election day.
2. The level of local taxation depends on it. Affordable taxation may seem like an oxymoron but town councils need taxes to fuel their budgets. Loading the cost of all municipal services onto the property tax is unfair; the flip side is increased user fees. Whether services are cut or taxes increased will depend on your vote.
3. The value of your home could depend on your vote. Land designation decisions, such as the location of commercial and industrial properties and power lines, are made by town council. If you don’t vote, you might not have a say in who your neighbours will be and what effect that might have on your property value.
4. The safety of your community depends on it. The level of police and fire protection is decided by town council. Are you satisfied with the response time of the RCMP and the volunteer fire department when an emergency strikes?
5. The environment depends on it. Recycling, municipal composting programs, diverting refuse from the landfill, and the use of pesticides in parks. How town council deals with these issues could determine your family’s quality of life.
6. Your children’s education depends on it. A school trustee will also be chosen in the Rimbey-area ward. School trustees generally toil in anonymity but they make crucial decisions about our children’s education. Who do you trust with your children’s future?
7. The variety of recreation opportunities in the community depends on your vote. Whether it’s the new swimming pool, parks, arena rental rates or outdoor skating rinks, what you do with your leisure time could be affected by who gets elected Oct. 18.
8. Your health could depend on your vote. Are you satisfied with the level of ambulance service? Health care is a provincial responsibility but the town funds Family and Community Support Services. Are you getting the type of social programming that you need?
9. What your neighbourhood looks like could depend on you. Population density, the mix of housing styles, the location of new businesses, speed bumps, and the planning of neighbourhood parks all hinge on your vote.
10. The future of Rimbey depends on your vote. Do want your kids to be educated in Rimbey, to move out, get a job and buy a house in Rimbey? Whether you vote will have a direct bearing on the availability of jobs and housing in town. The decisions made by town councillors affect every aspect of life in Rimbey. If you want to influence their decisions, vote on election day.