On Friday afternoon, March 22, The Outlook reached out to Mayor Ross Derdall, who provided his email address so that we could send him a list of detailed questions for a special Q&A section.
The following morning, Mayor Derdall informed us that the questions would be taken to the next town council meeting, which was held on Wednesday night, March 27.
The following is the email sent to Mayor Derdall, including the questions posed by The Outlook.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions to the best of your ability.
I have to warn you that these are tough questions, compiled by the three of us here at the office. But they're also topics that are routinely asked of us by the public.
Ideally, we would love to run your responses in next week's issue, so if it's possible to have your answers by noon Monday at the latest, we would appreciate it.
Questions are listed below:
1. Why is the Town Budget so late in being finalized (and delivered to ratepayers)? While we understand the finalized annual report from the previous year may not yet be complete, a budget is a forecast for the upcoming year (and years to come) and can be completed without finalized numbers from the previous year. If financials are well maintained, there should be a good idea where the year end results will be.
- By waiting for a budget to be finalized until May, half the year is already gone and spending has occurred. Is it not part of fiscal responsibility to spend within the means? How do you spend within the means when those means are not known? November/December seem to be the right time to be discussing the upcoming year and then have the budget finalized at the latest at the January meeting.
2. What is the repayment plan for the various loans and line of credit the town has utilized? Has future forecasting been done - there were so many projects identified by council at the information night as important, how is council planning to address them?
3. With the change to lagoon access, what options are residents/businesses within the town going to have when the pump out service rates skyrocket due to increased cost to truck sewage to wherever will accept it?
4. What is council doing about trying to increase utilization of civic facilities? The rent has increased on the Civic Centre and there was an opportunity to have the gym in the Rec Plex, but arrangements could not be finalized. Are groups like the archery and gymnastics paying a fair rent amount when the space is used only for approximately 4 months of the year?
5. Is there an agreement/contract with the RM of Rudy or Rudy Landing regarding the number of houses that can be utilizing the town’s water supply? Council spoke about the demand of water being greater than what can be supplied. Why is Rudy Landing (in the RM) connected to the town utility when the town can’t support it? There is an abundance of land in Rudy Landing that is using that water for trees and grass.
6. If a lagoon is a priority project, as mentioned at the town information night, why are details about the need for a lagoon such a secret? Why can’t the townspeople know what issues are being faced and what solutions are? We wonder though why Western Sales and Outlook Regal are business that would be impacted - they are not in town limits, and not sure what other businesses are affected as I am unclear as to how far north you come before you are in the town limits.
7. Our reader poll had 85% questioning why there is so much in-camera time at council meetings. Can you be more specific as to why the council feels the need for so much in-camera time?
8. How confident are you in the sustainability of the new swimming pool, as it relates to usage versus costs? Do you think the people of Outlook and area will help ensure that it's a good investment over time?
Again, thank you Ross for answering these. We wouldn't ask the tough questions if we didn't think you could handle them!
Derek, Delwyn and Shelley
On Tuesday morning, April 2, The Outlook received this letter in response from the Town of Outlook: