Kneehill Urban & Rural Advocacy Society: An open letter to Kneehill Council

Dear Editor,

As a society known as Kneehill Urban & Rural Advocacy Society (KURAS and on Facebook with 1000 followers), we’d like to express a host of concerns that need addressing within the County. We wrote an open letter to Kneehill County in the Three Hills Capital in January about some important issues for all County residents, but absolutely nothing was offered in response. It appears that the claims of “we want to hear from you” go unheeded unless you’re on the team. The meaningful questions deserve answers.

- We desire a return to open annual (or more) meetings where the councillors and their staff present the financial statements, a breakdown of the operations, with an open question period. The “Discovery Fair” that is currently presented by the County is certainly a way of informing (PR style), but the objective is to keep control and prevent the hard questions from being shared amongst the ratepayers. There is an admitted fear of councillors to face an annual meeting and engage questions. If leadership was going so well, we don’t need walls and a controlled drawbridge to access the castle.

-Too much discussion and decision- making is being done in “committee of the whole” and “in camera” sessions; out of view or in documentation for the ratepayer to know about.

- Rumour has it that there was discussion about the County taking in Calgary garbage for a fee. Anybody know who the lucky neighbor’s going to be if that’s a go? Another secret meeting.

- County allocated $1.35 million to the Horseshoe Canyon recreation area for this year alone. That’s $270 for every one of the 5000 residents in this county. Wow. For what purpose? For someone’s glory at our expense? Just maybe it’s a natural site at the extreme bottom edge of the County that could simply be enjoyed that way without having a ridiculous amount of money thrown at it.

- The oil and gas sector is dialing back, taxes received are decreasing, but where’s the cutbacks? Resident and landowner taxes went up at least 8%. There’s no opportunity for challenging that, unless you’re an oil company who gets a waiver in a secret meeting. It’s obvious it’s going to get worse. Take note from your tax notice just delivered that there’s no analysis comparing it to last year’s taxes.

So many more questions to follow as time unfolds. Join us and give us your feedback on Facebook.

Kneehill Urban & Rural Advocacy Society (KURAS)