Official Statement on the $21.9 Million Library Borrowing Bylaw

This past Monday I moved a motion to postpone second reading of the Library Borrowing Bylaw to November 20, 2017. I put this motion on the table in order to comply with the wishes of the 6700+ residents who signed a petition asking for a plebiscite question on the Library Borrowing Bylaw to be placed on the ballot in the next municipal election. This motion was defeated 4-3 with myself, Hughes and Russell voting in favor and Crouse, Heron, Brodhead and Osborne voting in opposition.
At Council a member moved that we approve the second and third readings of the 21.9 million dollar Library Borrowing Bylaw. These motions were approved 4-3 with Crouse, Heron, Brodhead and Osborne voting in favor and myself, Hughes and Russell opposed.
Also at this meeting Councillor Hughes put forward a motion to pursue allocating additional space within City Hall to be used by the Library to house some of their various programs (space that will be vacated as various current occupants leave their City Hall location). This motion was defeated 4-3 with myself, Hughes and Russell voting in favor and Crouse, Heron, Brodhead and Osborne opposed.
The net effect of these various motions is that council has now provided all the motions required for administration to go ahead and borrow funds to build a new branch library. This will be difficult to accomplish with just a few months left in this council’s term. However, Councillor Heron has provided a Notice of Motion with currently undetermined final wording to be presented in mid- August which would serve to accelerate the construction of a new Library.
I voted the way that I did because I fundamentally believe that all major capital decisions that the city makes should be supported by a majority of its residents. In this case a 21.9-million-dollar branch library requiring a minimum tax increase of 3.5% (plus additional tax increases for the yearly operational costs) is something I consider to be a major decision and thus I believe should require a majority vote to proceed with. Fortunately, we do have a plebiscite question on this year’s ballot which will read something like this:
“Do you support that the city build in the next 4 years a Library that will cost $21.9 million dollars to construct and 2 million dollars per year to operate Yes or No?”
You will have a chance to vote directly as to how you feel (NOTE: similar questions will be asked about building a pool and an ice rink). If you want a new library and expanded library services and are willing to pay for it, you can vote yes. If you favor the current level of library services; just want 1 library and would rather keep the money in your own pocket you can vote no. However, it must be noted that these plebiscite questions are not binding on the newly elected council. If you want the results of the plebiscite vote to be respected, you will have to also have a Mayor and Council that is willing to listen to the public and honour the results of the plebiscite questions.
As your Mayor, I promise that I will adhere to the results of the plebiscite questions on the Library, rink and pool. I believe that public service is first and foremost about respecting the wishes and direction of the electorate and in this regard I will not waver. If there is less than 50% support for any particular project, I will vote against pursuing that project. If a project is supported by over 50% I will do my best to ensure that your wishes are respected and adhered to. I will not be the politician that gets elected and goes away for four years to do as he or she pleases with no regard for the public’s wishes. I will work for you and I will not forget who elected me.

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About the author

Cam MacKay was born in St. Albert and has lived most of his life in the community. Having lived in the Sturgeon and Braeside neighbourhoods, Cam has grown to truly appreciate the tight, friendly communities of St. Albert. Cam was schooled in St. Albert and believes his educational experiences here prepared him well and helped in his success while attending the University of Alberta. Cam received his Bachelor of Commerce, with a major in Accounting. While working towards his Certified Management Accountant’s designation, he was a Budget Officer for the Government of Alberta, where he learned the skills that led him to fulfill his entrepreneurial dream of opening his own business, called Open Spaces Doggie Daycare. He has successfully operated this business in St. Albert’s Campbell Business Park for the past six years. Cam appreciates how important community is and has been involved with many community groups. He thinks that community is what makes St. Albert strong and is honoured to be playing a role in this regard. He is looking forward to his position on St. Albert City Council. Cam is married and has one daughter. Cam's updated bio can be found on his campaign website: VoteCamMacKay.com

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