In the immortal words of the Esurance commercial — “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.” That line from a comedic commercial is especially relevant when it comes to the level of understanding surrounding shuffling around unused funds from cancelled public events.
A recent letter questioned why funds from 2020 Cornfest and Canada Day were not funnelled towards road repair. Well, there’s a solid explanation for that folks. Canada Day and Cornfest are community events dependent almost exclusively on grants and community sponsorship — not from tax revenue.
Take Cornfest for example. A Taber and District Chamber of Commerce event, community-minded businesses shell out thousands of dollars each year to ensure the celebration includes top-notch entertainment, explosive fireworks, a midway and a wide-variety of other events. There’s a reason it’s southern Alberta’s largest free, outdoor festival — community sponsorship.
You think those same sponsors are going to line up at the doors of the town to sponsor pothole repair?
Now let’s say, just for the sake of an illogical argument, all the sponsorship and grant money from Canada Day and Cornfest could actually be diverted into roads. Let’s roughly estimate July 1 and Cornfest cost a combined $150,000. A well-constructed road with base course and pave with nine-metre surface for a no-ban structure costs approximately $1 million per kilometre. How far would that $150,000 go in the grand scheme of things? Not very far. That .15-kilometre stretch of road is not going to suddenly make your driving experience exponentially better.
As for snow removal, yes it’s frustrating when your road is not cleared immediately following a snow event. The fact remains, snow removal is expensive. You want every road cleared as soon as the snow falls? That’s all well and good, but it’s going to cost you. You want Cadillac snow removal service — expect to pay for it with subsequent tax increases.
While it’s certainly not the case with the wrath of Mother Nature in every snowfall, there are times Mother Nature can return the favour with the Chinooks southern Alberta is known for, to aid the taxpayer in snow removal. But patience is required for that in less severe snowstorms.
And certainly, frustrations have been high over the years concerning closed-door meetings and issues surrounding accountability. As former editors of The Taber Times, we have been critical of successive town councils, who have spent far too much time debating the issues of the day far from the prying eyes of the public.
However, one must have a basic understanding of how municipal politics functions and how capital projects are funded. With municipal elections on the horizon, Taber deserves a slate of candidates willing to participate in respectful, intelligent debate on the issues.
Every four years, citizens have the ability to elect community leaders to represent them and help set the agenda. Those willing to throw their hat into the ring should commit to participating in civil discourse with the citizenry, should possess a basic understanding of local issues and roll up their sleeves to conduct solid research.
It’s easy to criticize elected officials — we’ve all done it. Let’s just make sure voters head to the polls in October and select candidates that truly have Taber’s best interest at heart, not those simply seeking a soapbox in their personal agendas.
Garrett Simmons and Greg Price
This letter is written in relation to my friend Rhett Anderson’s letter (published in The Taber Times on) June 30, 2021. I compliment him on his courage to write a letter to the editor. He obviously can write well. I hope he continues to do so.
It is unfortunate Rhett’s criticisms apply not only to the present town council, but those from the past. I know he can do better than that. He has the capacity to build rather than tear down.
I feel our council has managed our town well, in fact, especially well. Sidewalks and streets are repaired according to a schedule we can afford.
I remember the roads being cleaned of snow in the winter in a timely manner. The addition of amenities such as the Trout Pond, walking trails, extension to the west of 56 Avenue to join Park Road, the current addition of The Meadows and the anticipated ‘railroad’ development speak highly of the competency of both council and staff.
Yes, there are times when council must meet behind “closed doors,” but reality and wisdom dictate for the sake of confidentiality and the requirements of law — and they keep multiplying in a multicultural and ever-changing society — they must do so.
Keep up your interest in matters affecting our town, Rhett.