Suzanne Oel Councillor
Black Diamond/Turner Valley/Longview Local Political News Priddis/Millarville/Red Deer Lake

Councillor Update – Suzanne Oel – MD Foothills – Jan 2021

With Gratitude: Foothills County recognizes the many people who, by their contributions, share in our good-news story of creating a community that cares. We thank our dedicated Foothills County council, staff and partners who work tirelessly to deliver services to our residents. We thank individuals and organizations within our region who support those in need, the many volunteers who serve on our local boards and associations to make this county a great place to live, and the elected officials and staff from our neighbouring municipalities and jurisdictions who collaborate with us to bring advances to all our communities.

Foothills County Rural Policing Plan: A new policing approach aims to bring increased RCMP presence and improved service to Foothills County! Rural residents told the Provincial Government that we need to fight rural crime at all levels. In response, the RCMP Southern Alberta District examined new ways to provide policing services within Foothills County. Resources have been aligned and more have been added, including frontline officers, support services, and capacity to the Crime Reduction Unit serving this area. With the County’s requisitioned investment in policing adding up to $999,660 in 2021 and totalling $1,999,320 by 2023, we’re all watching for results. This custom deployment ensures these funds are at work locally, specific to our County, based on crime trends and logistical requirements. An amalgamation of the rural resources from the three detachment response areas in the County (TV, OK, HR) enables the RCMP to provide 24-hour policing services in the configuration of a Zone model, coordinated out of the Turner Valley RCMP Detachment Office. We look forward to developing opportunities for joint enforcement and community support initiatives in Foothills County, along with a more collaborative approach to enforcement services between the front line RCMP members and Foothills Patrol Community Peace Officers.

Budget 2021: Council and Administration have worked to put forward a “hold the line”, zero-increase operational budget for 2021. We’ve had to reallocate and hold off on some projects in order to do this; however, we are going this route in recognition of the difficult times that many residents are going through right now. When it comes time to set the Mill Rate in the spring, we will be facing some provincial and requisitioned costs that may add up to a slight increase in taxes, not on our part, but that has to be passed on to property taxpayers from these other organizations. The variables yet to be accounted for, when the dust of 2020 settles and 2021 numbers are in, are an additional $333,607 for RCMP, education taxes amount, assessment model review change, bottom line on recreation cost-sharing and any other losses incurred from 2020. More news to come on this…

Priddis Flood Study public engagement: The Province is asking residents to provide feedback on several flood studies that impact lands in Foothills. Flood mapping studies improve public safety, support emergency management, and help to build safer and more resilient communities. The new Priddis flood study assesses and identifies flood hazards along 32 km of Fish Creek and 19 km of Priddis Creek through Foothills County, Division 4, including Priddis and Priddis Greens. Provide your input by January 15, 2021: www.alberta.ca/priddis-flood-study-engagement.aspx

Signs stolen and damaged: Towards the end of 2020, we confirmed at least 15 traffic signs being mowed down and 5 Dark Sky Country signs being stolen. Some vandalism has been noted along Highway 543 as well. With a cost to replace and install signs at around $200 each, this adds up to around $4,000 to compensate for the spree. There’s a cost to our taxpayers and the volunteers who have fundraised for the Dark Sky signs, and there’s the issue of safety risk to motorists when the traffic signs such as stop signs and yield signs are removed. The county has contacted the RCMP about the issue and are still discovering missing or damaged signs. If you see or hear of anything on this, please report to the RCMP’s 24/7 complaints line: 403.933.4262.

New election nomination process: 2021 is a municipal election year. New guidelines have been put in place by Elections Alberta, which include the start of the nomination process as of January 1, 2021. I would like to inform you that I will be putting my name forward as a candidate for the October 2021 municipal election for Foothills County Division 4. For more information on these new guidelines, please visit: www.alberta.ca/local-election-rule-changes.aspx

I wish you and your family a healthy, hope-filled New Year!

Best Regards, Councillor Suzanne Oel
For Other News & Updates:
Please visit my website: suzanneoel.com
www.facebook.com/councillorSuzanneOel
Suzanne.Oel@FoothillsCountyAB.ca

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