Press Release from Craig Copeland:
The paperwork is with the City of Cold Lake, as I am looking forward to the opportunity for consideration by the voters of Cold Lake to continue as Mayor once again. It has been a pleasure working with Council and administration moving our community forward as your Mayor since 2007.
Over the past 3 and a half years of the current term, important files have now concluded such as the regional water line, ID 349 funding and the recently signed Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) with the M.D. of Bonnyville. The ICF and I.D. 349 will bring forward significant funding each year that will balance what is collected from residential and commercial property taxes and user fees.
The one file that remains outstanding is the Payment in Lieu of Tax dispute that the City has with the Federal Government. Council over the years has asked the Federal Government to pay their property tax in full just like all taxpayers in our community. This shortfall is significant, as the monies owed represents 5% of the City operating cash flow each year.
The next council my opinion, will be moving to the next phase of visioning the community. Major infrastructure and recreational facilities are on the horizon. Big projects include Lakeshore Drive underground utilities and road replacement, along with a walking path along the lakeshore. A Public Works Shop, Highway 28 south twinning project (continuation from 43rd avenue to the entrance sails), a new RCMP police station, Waste Water Treatment Plant and an Aquatic Center at the Energy Center. These projects will take years to complete, but the next council will steer the vision for our community and continue the momentum established by past councils.
The projects outlined are significant, with the biggest challenge being financial management and a balanced funding approach. It appears that Provincial and Federal dollars for capital projects will be flat or lowered, so projects will likely primarily be funded through prudent cash flow management of property tax collected from residential, commercial and industrial taxes from the oil sector. The new agreement with the MD will also bring in new cash flow for future councils to work with that is certainly going to help. It has also helped to solidify a very positive working relationship in the region.
I am optimistic that the City of Cold Lake is on the verge of an economic upcycle, due largely in part to the modernization program on 4 Wing. The new fighter jet, along with capital replacement of the hangers and an office building for the personnel is long overdue for our Air Force. The upgrade reported to be $500 million on the base over the next several years, bringing in hundreds of construction jobs. This type of growth will be exciting for the next council to work with. It will also be important to continue to support our important and unique resource sector, a world leader for environmentally sound practices while producing an important source of energy.
I look forward to have the opportunity to be your Mayor once again. The position has been very rewarding and I have been so fortunate to work with great people on Council and the employees for the City, who share my passion for making our community a great place to live.