Incumbent Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood is hoping to continue to grow the local economy.
“We are in an extremely strong financial position and have been able to maintain strong reserves with no tax increases in the last three years,” Wood said.
Wood explained that a strong, diversified economy with assets in agriculture, oil and gas and business—particularly on Gasoline Alley—has allowed the County to continue to grow without hindering the taxpayer
“That diversification helps us maintain low taxes throughout our County,” he said. “We are proud to keep our taxes at an affordable rate.”
Wood, who is proud that the County was able to become debt-free in the last term, said there is still lot of work to be done.
“I think we need to continue to ensure the economy is robust within the County,” he said. “We need to continue to provide the infrastructure necessary. We need to look into further refining of our oil and gas sector. We can see more growth at the airport and we are working right now on a waste energy project that we have not seen realized yet.
“We have a huge issue coming up, mandated by our province, to create agreements with every single municipality. That takes a lot of meetings and I am looking forward to meeting with all the mayors and councils from the other communities.”
Wood believes his experience with other municipalities in the region has been key to forging partnerships.
“We have been very successful at partnering with other municipalities,” he said. “We have a great relationship with all of the municipalities within our boundaries and neighboring us on all sides. I believe Red Deer County is looked upon as a leader in the province.”
Wood said one of the challenges in the County has been safety – something he hopes to continue advocating the province about.
“It is the responsibility of the province but policing is very important to our residents,” he said. “We need to continue to work on this avenue. We need to lobby our province to do what is necessary. Failing that, Red Deer County will have to do more things like dedicating a plain clothes police officer to look at crime within the region.”
Staying on top of infrastructure is also important to Wood and is something he feels the County has a solid footing on.
“What we do is that in times of high pricing, we continually put money into our reserve account,” he said.
“In times of low-pricing—like right now—where we are almost getting two roads done for the cost of one, we use the reserve we built and get twice as much done.
“There will be a time when the economy goes up again and than we will build our reserves back.”
Wood said the last council was able to achieve every one of their strategic goals and he looks forward to working with the next council.
“I want to make sure Red Deer County remains the best place in the world to live,” he said.
Wood believes he is the right person for the job of mayor and hopes his experience can continue to be an asset.
“My experience as mayor is extremely important,” he said.
“The leadership going forward in a municipality is critical to ensuring that we have a County with a vision going into the future. It is not always easy looking forward around what is good not just for today, but for our children and grandchildren.”