A bi-monthly column by the Mayor of Ponoka
Every week in this newspaper, the town publishes the dates of our next council and committee of the whole meetings, but what you may not realize is that your council members do a lot more work on your behalf than simply attending a few meetings each month.
Those council meetings often require several hours of prep time to read through provincial and municipal legislation and bylaws, along with thick background reports related to council agenda items.
On top of that, each council member can have six to 10 other meetings to attend and prepare for each month. That’s because in the fall, council members are each placed on up to four council advisory committees and boards (such as Recreation and Culture, Environmental and Utilities, Economic Development, Finance and Human Resources, Police Advisory Committee, the Library Board and the Airport Development Board), as well as outside agencies’ committees and boards (such as Rimoka Housing Foundation, the Parkland Regional Library board, the North Red Deer River Water Services Commission, the Ponoka Rimbey Adult Learning Society Post-Secondary Committee, and Pe Sakastew Centre in Maskwacis).
These outside agencies operate at arm’s length from the town but they have a council member sitting on the board as an advisor who can report back on matters of interest to council.
Add to that the various sub-committees and working groups on which council members volunteer their time to help ensure the success of community events and projects such as the ice trail and Christmas lights in Centennial Park and our annual Day in the Park summer festival. And then of course council sets aside extra days for town budget deliberations, and to attend conferences and training sessions periodically throughout the year.
That’s a quick snapshot of the work your council members do each month in addition to the full time jobs and family commitments many of them juggle. They do it because they are passionate about our community and want to help make Ponoka an even better place to live, work and play. So if you’re trying to contact one of them with a question and they aren’t able to respond immediately, please know that they are working hard on your behalf and will get back to you as quickly as possible.
In closing, I would like to emphasize how important our council advisory committees and boards are, and invite you all to apply to volunteer on one of them. By adding your voice and energy to a council advisory committee or board, you become an important part of council’s decision-making process.
These committees and boards provide valuable advice and feedback to council on important matters, which is then brought back to council for consideration and possible implementation. Council truly appreciates the many ideas and perspectives these committees bring to the table as we strive to make decisions that offer the greatest benefit to our community.
So please consider volunteering to sit on one of these committees or boards where you can work side by side with your local council members to help make Ponoka the best possible community in which to live.