Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Message

Here we are at Christmas once again. The shopping is all done and most of us are looking forward to eating too much turkey! Beiseker has outdone itself this year with many homes and businesses decked out in the best of holiday fashion! Take time to tour around town and enjoy these festive lights!

The local Food Bank has distributed many packages to those who need a little extra boost this year. Thanks to all of you who have donated to that worthy cause. Please remember that the needs of these folks continue on into the new year.

Chistmas Talk: Every year around this time we all hear the Christmas talk of peace and goodwill to all. All the politicians' carefully prepared speeches and the music on the radio refer to this time of peace and joy. But soon after Christmas that's all forgotten and we're back to the same old same old! This year I'm going to try to live up to those platitudes into the new year, please join me!

Merry Christmas!

SNOW!; Hats off to Beiseker's Public Works for moving as much snow as they've had to over the past few weeks! I personally think we have a pretty darn good snow management program for such a small municipality!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Water Crisis

The village's Public Works staff is still working on the loss of water issue. We've found a couple of small leaks or discrepancies in the system, but we still can't account for all the water we lose each month.

Every municipal water system has a certain amount of loss, but not nearly as high as Beiseker's! My compliments go to our Public Works staff who have braved some pretty nasty weather trying to track down some of this missing water.

The Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission is still in communication with the provincial government in hopes a new water fee schedule can still be worked out. Right now the seven municipalities in the commission are really hurting while trying to cover these huge expenses created, in part, when the commission was not allowed to sell its water to waiting customers!! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stage East Dinner Theatre

What a fantastic weekend of Stage East! Over 260 people enjoyed good food, great singing and lots of laughs. And the cast and crew of Stage East had fun, too! I send out special thanks to all those who participated in Stage East 2010, and we'll see you all for the very next edition!

It was extra special for me; being able to work with Leroy Whitnack again! Leroy and I created the Emcee and his Irritating Stage Hand for Stage East back in 1982! It was great to work with him again.

Thank you all for supporting Stage East. Watch for our announcement asking for applications for financial support from Stage East. Those will be coming out in a few days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Council

We had a good first meeting of council last night! Council re-elected Bruce Rowe as Mayor and myself as Deputy Mayor. Those offices will be held for one year. There is an annual organizational meeting each October.

We agreed to work on those issues still haunting the village, beginning with water!

Beiseker buys more water from the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission that Irricana does! But we don't sell that much water! There are a few reasons for this discrepancy:

1. The meter registering the water coming into the Village is not accurate.
2. We are losing water through leakage.
3. We have unmetered water usage.
4. Some of the meters in the Village are not recording accurately.

We have had our intake meter recently checked out and it appears to be working properly. That rules out #1.
Public Works is checking all standing water for chlorine content. So far none has been detected. We will keep looking for any evidence of a water leak or leaks.
All water users in the Village appear to have water meters attached to their intake pipes but Public Works will continue to check to make sure all metered water is accounted for.
Water meters will be checked and eventually replaced over the next few years. Meters are expensive so this is an on-going process which will take several years to complete.

Once we identify the problem or problems we must take steps to correct them.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: I ask all Beiseker residents to watch for unusual pooling of water around the village. If you see a puddle of clean looking water which never seems to dry up, report it to the Village Office by calling 403 947 3774.

I suspect we'll find there are many reasons for our overly high water consumption. We must work to get this water issue under control!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thank You All

Thank you all for supporting me during this election. Know that I will do my best to represent you fairly, firmly and equally! You know what my priorities are; they're listed under this posting. I'll keep you all informed on my progress on these issues as we go through the next three years. You are most welcome to comment in this blog or email me if you have an issue more personal. I do answer my phone if you call, too!

Thank you again and visit my blog often.


Friday, October 15, 2010


After a twenty five year holiday, Beiseker's Stage East Dinner Theatre returned in 2005 and has been going strong ever since! We have moved to a once-every-two-years schedule and the 2010 edition will hit the stage at the Beiseker Community Centre on November 5 & 6 ! Tickets are $30.00 each which gives a great meal and unlimited laughs! Come join us. Proceeds from Stage East go to local organizations and charities. Tickets are available at businesses around the village or call Marion Walters for availability. See you there!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Mayor's election in Beiseker

The question of how the mayor is chosen has come up again.

The newly elected Councillors of the Village of Beiseker will conduct an organizational meeting soon after the election.  That meeting is scheduled for 7:30 pm in Council Chambers on October 25. At that meeting they will choose a mayor and a deputy mayor. The councillor chosen to be mayor may not be the one with the most votes in the recent election.

The councillor elected as mayor will be the one the other councillors think will be the best for the job. They will also assign councillors to different committees and boards on which the village needs representation.

Municipalities can decide to elect their mayor separately, usually when they get to large town size. They must apply for permission to do so through the Alberta Municipal Affairs Department.

Over the years I have served in all three positions on council: Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillor.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Municipal property taxes are based on two things: The total assessment and the mil rate.
Each year the value of every property within the municipality is calculated. This calculation is based on the sale of similar properties elsewhere in the municipality. This new way of calculating the value of your property is called Market Value Assessment (MVA). This process was introduced by the provincial government a few years ago. Every Alberta municipality has to use it, they have no choice!

After that process is completed, all those assessments are added up to get the municipality's Total or Overall Assessment.

After going over the proposed budget in great detail, the municipality decides how much money it needs to operate over the next year. It then looks at its Total Assessment to assign the Mil Rate.

The Mil Rate refers to the number of dollars and cents each property owner must pay per thousand dollars of their MVA.

Beiseker's Village Council has steadfastly refused to raise the mil rate. Each year our total assessment goes up as new homes and businesses are built and sold. By keeping the mil rate the same and relying on the increase of the total assessment, taxes are kept at a consistent level year to year.

Studies have shown that Beiseker's property taxes are below the provincial average for a municipality of our size.

Some individual property taxes will increase while others will decrease. Others will stay the same.  Overall on average we have managed to keep taxes down.  The mil rate is based on the overall total assessment, not on individual property assessments. 
Over the next three years I will continue to make sure the people of Beiseker get the "best BANG for their tax buck!".

I am also working on a proposal to allow municipalities to reduce the burden of the MVA on long term homeowners on a fixed income.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Issue #7: Recreation Opportunities for All

For its size Beiseker has some of the best recreatioal opportunities around, yet there are still those in the Village who tell me, "there's nothin' to do here!".

If you live in Beiseker you can: play hockey, play baseball, attend beavers/cubs & scouts (in Irricana), take martial arts, skateboard, rollerblade or BMX, use the Library, play school sports, take part in summer fun, swim in Acme, learn to skydive, get your pilots' licence, join the Station Museum or the Centennial Railway Museum, join the Golden Years Town & Country Club, take part in Stage East Dinner Theatre, use an ATV, Quad, or snowmobile, skate, take part in Continuing Ed or Adult Ed, join a needle-craft club, go bowling (in Airdrie), join a service club, join the Chamber of Commerce, join the Royal Canadian Legion (in Acme), join the motorcycle club, join a 4H Club, become a part of Pioneer Acres in Irricana, Golf (in Acme, Driving Range here), join a church group (here or in Acme or Irricana), go bicycling, go jogging, curling (in Acme or Irricana), join a car club, volunteer at Beiseker Recycling, and others!

If re-elected I will help identify the concerns of those who feel there is nothing to do here. It may require a new facility or an existing facility upgrade, or maybe just a place where those with a like interest can meet and plan!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Issue #6: Street Upgrading

Village Council has embarked on a program of street upgrades for many years. Funds are limited. Much of the funding for our street upgrades comes through a provincial Streets Improvement Program (2002 SIP) and there are other provincial grants which becme available sporadically. Usually the Village of Beiseker must add to these funds to be able to complete these projects. Sidewalks and paving are often done as a Local Improvement which means that a fee for a portion of the upgrade will be added to the property taxes for all the properties along the upgraded street. The whole process takes a very long time.

Residents can stop a planned street upgrade by presenting a petition to Village Council. This was the case on Seventh Street.

If re-elected, I will push to have council revisit the paving on Seventh Street now that the "cooling off" period has passed. Water flows better on paved streets! Once we get Seventh and Ninth paved we can work on the avenues. This will help rain and melt water exit town easier and faster.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

About Ray

  • Ray has lived in Beiseker for almost forty years!
  • Ray has been on Village Council for more than twenty of those years. He has held every position on council: Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor.
  • Ray retired in 1999 after 31 years as a teacher and school administrator. 30 of those years were spent with Rocky View Schools #41, with 17 years here at Beiseker Community School and 13 years at Crossfield Elementary School.
  • Ray is now self employed at his home as a professional photographer and publisher.
  • Ray has been involved in most aspects of volunteerism here in the village. He has been and/or is a member of; The Beiseker Recreation Board, the North East Rocky View Fire Association, the Beiseker Station Mueseum Society, Beiseker Recycling, Stage East Dinner Theatre, the Big Country Youth Justice Committee, the Beiseker Airport Society, and the Beiseker Community Education Advisory Council, the Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management Association, and the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission
  • Ray was a founding member of; Beiseker Recycling, Stage East Dinner Theatre, and the Big Country Youth Justice Committee.
  • Ray really knows Beiseker!
  • Outside the village, Ray is also a Senior Associate with the Calgary Stampede and a Director of the Aero Space Museum Association of Calgary.
  • Ray and his wife Madeline recently celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. Ray & Madeline have two children who now live in Crossfield and Didsbury.

Issue #5: Trees and Parks

As they reach the end of their life span, our poplar trees are slowly disappearing. Disease has claimed some of our public trees, too!

We also have some very attractive parks, green spaces and sports areas in the village which need care and attention on a year round basis.

If re-elected, I will work toward an extensive plan to replace our aging poplars with other trees AND I will work to create a separate Parks Account within Public Works. In that way we can better monitor the expenses on those public areas and apply those funds to matching grants offered by the provincial and federal governments. There are also a few private organizations out there who offer grants to plant trees!

Issue #4: Development

Development in our residential and industrial subdivisions has stalled! That is partly due to the economic times, but I think developers should be pushed a bit harder to get these subdivisions moving again!

 The Grasslands subdivision on Beiseker's west side has had huge investments made already. It is a shame that Grasslands sits there, its streets, sidewalks, and other infrastructure abandoned! It's not making any money for anybody right now.

If those residential lots were developed, the newly generated property taxes would help Beiseker's overall fiscal health immediately! I do not like the idea of a municipality becoming the developer, but if that's the only way we're going to get some action here, especially in the Grasslands subdivision, then I will push my fellow councillors to consider that option!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Issue #3: The Beiseker Airport

I am very pleased to announce that the Village of Beiseker has purchased the Beiseker Airport, a facility valued at more than 1.5 million dollars, from the Provincial Government for the sum of $1.00! Beiseker council insisted on two conditions before taking over ths airport;
  1. That the facility be brought up to standard by the province and;
  2. That the airport never become a burden to ratepayers here in the village.
Both conditions have been met!

The airport has the POTENTIAL of bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars of business into the Beiseker area and the village in particular!

It is my intention to work with economic development groups and the Chambers of Commerce to explore these potentials. It is the opinion of most aviation experts that Beiseker's airport has huge economic potential for the region. I intend to help realize that potential!

It is also my intention to recreate the Beiseker Airport Commission to advise council on the airport's operation. Rocky View County has already agreed to take part in such a commission and is now turning over the collected tax dollars to the operation of the airport!

 I would also like to see the Town of Irricana and the Village of Acme also rejoin the commission!

Issue #2: Water, water, water!

Beiseker is built in a slight hollow which means we have a very shallow slope from one side of town to the other.  During heavy rains or a large melt, water has trouble exiting the village fast enough.  At times we also get swamped with water coming from the north into the village.  I intend to work on long term solutions to this water problem.  I will do everything in my power to make flooded basements in Beiseker a distant memory!

During this past term, Beiseker Village Council enacted legislation that prohibits the dumping of rain or runoff water into the sanitary sewer lines.  This water should be directed onto the surface and allowed to exit the village on the surface.  If placed into the sanitary sewer line it will overwhelm the force main pumps designed to pump only effluent. 

I will continue to work to make sure these two systems are operating correctly, separately and efficiently!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Issue #1: Water! Water! Water!

Beiseker has many water problems.

 Our drinking water is supplied by the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission from Drumheller. We buy water from the Town of Drumheller, then pipe it to Kirkpatrick where it is treated and distributed to Carbon, Acme, Linden, Irricana and us.

 The counties of Kneehill and Rocky View are also part of the system. The system was built about 6 years ago funded by the province, the federal government and the municipalities. Each level of government contributed about one-third of the full cost of the system. The municipalities are finding it hard to pay their portion!

Every attempt by the Commission to sell water has been blocked by the Town of Drumheller! That, coupled with water conservation programs have reduced the sale of water throughout the area.

Similar water projects around Alberta have been funded by the provincial government up to 90% of their cost! A water project east of us recently received funding of over 80% of the cost!

I will continue to fight to get Beiseker and the rest of the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission an equitable funding arrangement, as they rightly deserve!