Thursday, September 3, 2015

WELCOME BACK!  After a two month break from meetings we’re glad to be back tackling issues of importance to county taxpayers along with welcoming fresh ideas for up-coming activities.  Besides our regular meetings we maintain our Clearwater County Taxpayers’ web-site and are in the process of planning our November annual meeting.  Future ideas to consider are perhaps hosting a taxpayers’ association conference and sending out a county wide questionnaire to gather input on county matters.  Mixed in with this are the issues that are continually brought to our attention by taxpayers asking for our support.
  • CAO SALARY—In late June (after trying for 4 months) we finally received confirmation that county council had approved an 11.6% increase in the Chief Administration Officer’s salary for 2015.  This is an increase of $24, 347, up from $208, 257 in 2014 to $232, 597 in 2015.  Added to the salary is a projected cost of benefits for 2015 of $35, 698, though that actual figure won’t be known until the end of the year.

  • STANDING COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS---The County Council recently took action to get public opinion on the possible direction it should take with providing better internet service to residents in the county.  To facilitate this it formed a Standing Committee to be comprised of councillors, industry representatives, and members at large from each of the electoral divisions of the county.

  • NORDEGG TRAILS INITIATIVE--- A concept plan has been developed for a series of trails in and around the Nordegg townsite.  It would include maintained trails for motorized OHV’s (quads and snowmobiles) as well as non-motorized trails for hikers, bikers, and horse-back riders.  The trail system would connect the town site and north sub-division as well as join these two areas with other out-lying trails.  Input on this plan was being accepted until the end of August.

A special bouquet of roses this month goes to the Clearwater County Council for establishing the Standing Committee on Communications.  It is great to see them wanting to involve county residents in making these important decisions by asking for a representative from each division to sit on the committee.  We might only hope that residents take the opportunity to become involved in this important venture.

This month’s rant focusses on yet another bundle of money to be potentially cast into the Nordegg pit, this time on developing a series of trails in and around the hamlet.  It is absolutely disgusting that more money will be tossed that direction when the Nordegg budget line is already in a deficit of $1.4 million.  Not only is this a recreational, non-essential expenditure, but in all likelihood it will be used mostly by out of county visitors.  In the meantime we are told there is no money to plow seniors’ driveways or fix the James River Bridge, both of which are essential to the well-being of our own taxpayers.  Where is the logic in spending money to provide an easy route for a visitor to go for ice cream while forcing a tax-paying farmer to risk life as he takes his equipment onto a busy highway due to the closure of his normal route???  Has common sense drowned in the Slough of Reserves??

September 10, 2015---   7:30 PM, Regular Monthly Meeting
October 8, 2015--- 7:30 PM, Regular Monthly Meeting
November 12, 2015--- 7:00PM,  ANNUAL MEETING