2020 Year in Review
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
First, let me say that I am honoured that my Council colleagues elected me reeve in October for 2020-21, and I am pleased to be serving alongside our new deputy reeve, Kim McKylor. I want to thank Greg Boehlke for his dedication in serving as reeve since 2015, and for helping me transition into my new role as he continues to serve as Division 6 councillor.
This has been a year that most of us will not soon forget. As the COVID-19 pandemic changed daily life for everyone, many families experienced hardship of varying proportions. Yet, even when faced with a year marked by so much adversity, there are many stories of how people from our community rose to the challenge and responded with resilience, perseverance, and kindness toward others. Thank you for standing strong and showing the true spirit of Rocky View County.
Even before Council had ever heard of the word “coronavirus,” we had begun to recognize the financial challenges many Rocky Viewers were facing. Over the 2020 and the coming 2021 fiscal year, Council approved an effective 2.5 percent property tax reduction for all Rocky View County residents and business owners. That’s particularly meaningful when you remember the cost of providing County services (everything from landfill fees to RCMP costs to gravel for roads) has risen – in some cases dramatically.
Rocky View County continues to have one of the lowest residential property tax rates in the region, and highly competitive business property tax rates. If you’d like to see how low, check out our residential property tax comparator tool.
Throughout the year, Council and Administration worked hard to ensure that the County continues to provide services to residents. We may have changed how things were done, but road building, assessments, snow plowing, fire protection, waste management, planning and development, and a range of other programs and services were all provided to the community.
This year saw several major capital projects break ground, including the Bragg Creek flood mitigation structures scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, which will protect the community from a one in 100-year flood event. Construction also began on a trio of projects in Langdon, including the emergency services building set to open in late 2021, the quad ball-diamond facility, and upgrades to Centre Street that will accommodate future growth in the hamlet. The summer roads program also saw upgrades, maintenance, and repairs to roads and bridges throughout the County.
In 2020, Council made some major decisions on the future governance of Rocky View County. As of next October’s municipal election, you’ll see new division boundaries that have been redrawn to ensure the population of each is better balanced. That helps ensure everyone’s voice is equal. And we made the decision to move from nine councillors to seven. Each of the seven will represent about 5,800 Rocky Viewers, and we’re confident that we’ll continue to see a wide range of opinions, ideas, and experiences brought to the Council table.
We’ve certainly faced some challenges over the past year, and not all of them were COVID-19 related. One of the biggest continues to be Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, which was set up by the Province to ensure co-ordinated planning throughout the region. Instead, so far it seems to be mostly about red tape and decisions made for political reasons, not planning reasons. The Board’s regional growth and servicing plan is due in 2021, and it remains to be seen if it’s a document that will truly enhance planning in the region, or one that generates nothing but endless meetings and mounds of paperwork.
It’s difficult to say what kind of year 2021 will be. But I know from the perspective of Rocky View County and my Council colleagues, it will be a year in which we continue to strive to provide the programs and services residents and business owners want and need, at a price they can afford. As always, we can only do that through the dedication of County staff, who work hard to carry out Council’s direction. They make us look good, and I know all of us on Council are grateful for their efforts.
Looking forward, Rocky View County will continue to meet challenges head on, take advantage of any opportunities that come forward, and work to create opportunities of our own. We will remain a great place to live, work, and play.
On behalf of my Council colleagues, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.
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