Your property tax statement should be a reminder that this is your city and we all pay to make this community work. But our tax dollars are not working for Chestermere residents the way we would want them to. Similarly sized cities have more dollars from a diversified tax base, they’ve invested those dollars wisely, and they provide amenities that serve everyone well. However Chestermere now sits second last in the entire province when it comes to receiving taxes from non-residential sources. Nearly 96% of city taxation comes from you and me, the residents. We carry the load without benefiting in the same way that communities like Strathmore, Airdrie, and Cochrane have.
This is unsustainable, but there is a better way. Chestermere is one of the most beautiful cities in Alberta and should be home to a thriving innovation and business community. My top priority will be to attract light industrial and commercial growth; they are a cornerstone of world-class cities. To do so I will use every available connection and experience I have to diversify our tax base and lessen the burden on our families. When I was the Mayor of Camrose I was able to help attract North America’s largest single line canola crushing plant, employing 60-80 people and bringing a healthy dose of non-residential tax dollars. I’ve attracted business before and I know we can do it again.
I will not wait to get started. From day one I will work with Council to set us on the right course. I believe that we need to take another look at our Municipal Development Plan (MDP) to ensure that we’re planning for industrial development in locations where it can be successful. When I was Mayor of Camrose I instigated a review of our land use bylaw. I did this because we needed to be more business friendly and cut some of the red tape to enable investment and free enterprise to work. We made changes and accomplished what we set out to do. Let’s reset the culture and make Chestermere a hotspot for new businesses to set up shop and thrive. When businesses do well, our whole community benefits.