2022 was another busy year for the Town of Strathmore, and Mayor Pat Fule is happy with everything Town Council accomplished this year. Among many other projects Fule is excited to see the Westridge Road revitalization project all finished.
“I'm happy with that because it's one of the last commercial areas that we thought really needed to be improved because it has such visibility from the Trans-Canada Highway and we have thousands of people who drive East and West through our town on the Trans-Canada Highway. So we thought it would be good to really make it more aesthetically pleasing so that people on the road might be impressed, maybe even decide to pull off or check out our town, and just the idea that it kind of showcases our town better,” he said.
Fule added they also improved the road by adding sidewalks and pathways, which he said was a necessity as more people were walking there due to the amount of businesses there and the increased people living in the area.
Regarding the 4.5% tax increase, Fule isn’t exactly happy that council raised taxes, but is happy that the Town found a way to make the increase as small as possible.
“There's kind of a belief that if you have a 0% tax increase, that's good financial management. But unfortunately, with inflation and with the Town having to make improvements to services and to keep things like snow removal, street sweeping, recreation facilities... if you have 0% tax increases it can lead to a situation where you have to play catch up and have higher tax increases later. So what we're trying to do is have manageable tax increases for people.”
On the topic of finances, Fule added 2022 saw a big focus on putting money into the Town’s reserves, which will prepare the Town for any urgent issues coming up in the future, as well as help pay off debt.
A big part of 2022 for Fule was planning for the future, and in this regard, he’s looking forward to seeing the growth Strathmore will soon experience with plenty of new industries on the way. This includes Phyto Organix and the De Havilland Air Field among many others.
“They (new industries) show progress and they show that the town is moving forward. One of the things that was said to me during 2021 election campaign was that Strathmore needs to have more industry so that our young people, adults, can stay in town and not have to commute to various places to work like Calgary for example. So now we've been really working at attracting industry. We've landed Phyto Organix, De Haviland is coming to Wheatland County and we're working on other ones too, so there's a lot of hope and excitement for Strathmore’s growth in the future.”
To prepare for this growth, Fule added 2022 saw a lot of planning for additional housing strategies, as he expects a boom in our population once these industries start employing full time employees.
On top of these highlights, Fule said the Town put a lot of effort into improving their relationship with Siksika Nation, which will result in things like the Kristian Ayoungman memorial powwow in 2023.
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