Red Deer County Mayoral hopeful Debra Hanna is hoping to be a fresh set of eyes for the municipality.
“I believe I could make a difference and I am running because of democracy—people need a choice,” she said.
Hanna believes strongly that residents should have a choice in the election.
“It is always good to have competition,” she said. “I have a passion for the County and this isn’t the first time I have ran. I still think I can make a lot of changes and a difference.”
Hanna, whose father was on council from 1986-89, knows the expectations of County council and hopes that she can provide a change to the status quo.
“As someone who has not previously sat on council in the mayor’s position, you would ask more questions than if you have already been trained by the bureaucracy,” she said. “When someone says ‘This is the way we can do it’, I can say why?
“In the process of explanation, you can make change.”
Much of what Hanna, a book keeper by trade, intends to look into regards the County’s financials.
“Staffing expenses have doubled in 10 years, as well as the vehicle assets,” she said.
“Things like that need to be looked at. Do we need this many people? There is the old saying that if you look after the pennies, the dollars will look after themselves. In the whole budget, staffing looks like a small amount but it adds up.
“When it doubles every 10 years, pretty soon you are not getting other things for your money.”
Hanna also noticed maintenance contracts have not changed in 10 years, something she found odd considering that contractors surely have raised their rates in that time.
“Does that mean we are not getting as many services as we should be?”
Hanna added money needs to be spent wisely—especially with many infrastructure needs throughout the County.
“If you take that money and spend it elsewhere, the roads don’t get repaired,” she said. “Pretty soon it becomes a major maintenance issue to get that road back to where it belongs.”
Safety and security are issues the next council will need to address throughout the next term, according to Hanna.
“Break-ins in the County are getting to be unreal,” she said.
“The thieves are getting more and more brazen. They are getting more physical and you aren’t sure if you want to answer the door in the day-time and especially in the nighttime.
“It is something that is more prevalent and will be one of the major discussions at the forums this year.”
She added that municipal enforcement could help with some of the patrolling issues that the County is facing.
“We have bylaw enforcement officers—we don’t want to put them in positions where their lives are at stake, but it is possible that instead of looking for bylaw infractions, we could have them drive through other neighborhoods to be a presence.”
Hanna hopes to bring change to the County with the support of its residents.
“I can bring a new viewpoint. Without change, everything goes down the same road. You vote for someone new, because you want change and you want a different set of eyes,” she said.
She added, “Voter turnout is sometimes very low. If you don’t turn out, only a few people decide what everyone has to live with. In my opinion, you cannot criticize your government unless you voted.”