Thorsby residents will be heading to the polling station at the Village Office for the By-election on Monday, June 2, 2014. Special ballot is available to residents unable to vote at the regular voting station on Election Day. Four candidates—Kenneth Wayne Beleshko, Bob Burnett, Sean Deehan, and Debbie Pilon—are vying for two council positions.
“It’s going to be a good election,” said Deputy Mayor Rick Hart. “It will be good to have a full council again and get back to the business of growing Thorsby. It’s time to put the negativity behind us and move forward.”
The following candidates responded to our interview requests:
I am a seasoned business professional with over 30 years of extensive management & governance experience: Industry Association Executive Director; administer and participate on numerous boards & Ad hoc committees; continuous interaction with federal, provincial & municipal Government agencies; financial management & budgeting, project planning, development & implementation.
I was raised and educated in Edmonton, attended high school and the University of Alberta Faculty of Commerce with a focus on marketing and finance. I currently hold the position of Executive Director for Aviation Alberta, and am married with two adult children.
I am committed to addressing and fixing the following: Financial accountability at all levels and eliminating an untenable deficit; High property taxes; Finding alternate funding solutions for the water treatment plant; Addressing inefficiencies in village administration & management; Promoting economic development; Fostering positive relations with the community and volunteer organizations; Formalize business and strategic plans while promoting Thorsby as a, “lifestyle community.”
A starting point will be a comprehensive analysis and review of all village operations with development of a practical and realistic business strategy and plan for the next five years.
Particular attention will be given to rationalizing water rates and the high cost of labor which represents a significant part of Thorsby’s annual $3.5 million dollar operating budget.
I am committed to working closely with the mayor, village council, CAO, businesses and citizens to find and recommend cost effective and efficient solutions to eliminating Thorsby’s debt while reducing exorbitant utility fees and property taxes.
I came to Alberta eight years ago from BC and moved from Edmonton four years ago to enjoy the slower pace and the rural lifestyle of Thorsby. By profession, I have been a Real Estate Appraiser for the past 35 years. I presently work for the Province of Alberta as a property agent and did the same for the City of Edmonton negotiating with Owners to acquire all types of real estate for Provincial program requirements.
I am a Past President of the BC Appraisal Association and a Past President of North Nanaimo Rotary Club.
There seems to be a disconnect between what Council is trying to achieve and the aims of the typical ratepayer.
Our Village has seen considerable change in the past six months—something most people dislike. I would bring my skills of trust-building and collaborative-solution-finding to Council. With better understanding, improved dialogue, and increased awareness, the disconnect can be resolved.
I would encourage re-connection with open forums where public input on a specific topic could be heard prior to decision making. While most decisions from the past can’t be altered, they can be explained in different ways to enable all to move forward.
I am pro-development and would apply my real estate knowledge in Council with the intent of growing the Village into a prosperous, financially sustainable area. With a broader tax assessment base and financial planning based on a “no frills” Annual Budget, Thorsby’s future will be ensured.
Please attend the All Candidates Forum at 7 PM on Thursday, May 29, at the Thorsby Community Hall.