Letter: A note to the mayor of 2039
This is a copy of the letter that was included in the Sam Steele Society’s time capsule to be opened on June 19, 2039.
Dear Mayor of Cranbrook in 2039,
Greetings from the year 2014! I hope that the citizens are treating you well – they certainly are “good people” here in 2014.
I’ve been asked to share a little of what Cranbrook is like today for a letter going into a time capsule to celebrate the 50th Celebration of Sam Steele Days.
Funding is a challenge for municipalities across Canada. For every dollar that Canadians pay in taxes $0.50 goes to the Federal Government, $0.42 to the Provincial Government and $0.08 to Municipalities. With aging infrastructure, increasing costs to RCMP contracts, and our responsibilities to provide a range of services with increasing costs we need a different future. Through UBCM British Columbia’s Municipalities have proposed funding that goes beyond property taxes and utility fees. I wonder if anything will have changed by 2039…..?
Here are some city statistics for you from 2014:
Population 19,319 people (2011 Census)
2014 Budget $56,419,621 (not including Amortization) of which $23,334,494 comes from General Municipal Property Taxes and $7,263,691 from Water/Sewer/Solid Waste fees.
Cranbrook is the sunniest city in BC (I hope that hasn’t changed!) and surrounded by world class scenery, recreation and wildlife. One of the initiatives we have underway is to build a better and more coordinated future for tourism in Cranbrook.
2014 tax increase is 3.98% - 1% of that is dedicated to fixing our roads and 3/4% goes into a recapitalization reserve. Every 1% increase brings us $219,493 in new revenue.
Average house price is $250,000. At that assessed value before claiming the Homeowners or Seniors Grant the owner will pay $2555 in property taxes, a $65 increase from 2013.
What are some of the challenges that I hear about most often from citizens?
Potholes and the general condition of our streets
Urban deer – to remove or not and how? The deer belong to the Province, and over 2012 and 2013 we harvested just over 50 animals under permit with the meat going to the Ktunaxa First Nation and the Cranbrook Food Bank. Working with other East Kootenay Communities, Fish and Game Clubs and the Province we hope to try an urban deer translocation project in 2014. Managing the deer is the most emotional issue we have had to deal with during my 2.5 years as Mayor.
This year – extremely high water levels at Elizabeth Lake and subsequent flooding of property (no houses so far). Climate change may have played a role?
The need to continue beautification in Cranbrook with trees, flowers and shrubs.
Conflicting views on standards and associated costs for work on our streets. Many people support adding trees, bio-swales and bicycle lanes while others say it costs too much – just replace with the same standard.
Aging infrastructure which leads to 50+ watermain breaks a year.
Bringing new businesses to Cranbrook and ensuring that we have a business friendly climate.
What are some of the initiatives that I am most pleased about – please see the 2012 and 2013 copies of A Message From the Mayor from the City’s Annual Reports.
In addition I would like to highlight:
Sam Steele Days is the biggest event of the year. One of the key parts is Cranbrook’s Youth Ambassador Program, the best in B.C., which leads to crowning a Sweetheart and Princess to represent youth in Cranbrook.
In June of this year I am introducing for the first time a Youth Mayor For a Day, something that I hope continues for many years.
This August we are holding Cranbrook’s first ever Multi-Cultural Event, which I also hope will grow every year as a celebration of our growing cultural diversity.
2014 will be the second year for the Rotary Club’s Gran Fondo. This event takes place in September and brings hundreds of cyclists to Cranbrook.
I am going to finish by thanking you, Cranbrook’s Mayor of 2039, for your commitment to the people of this great little city that we call Home. If I’m still around in 2039 I’ll likely be living in a “home” for Senior Citizens and I would be pleased to join you when the time capsule is opened for the public. If I’ve departed either Cranbrook or this earth please pass on my best regards to the community – thanks!
Wayne L. Stetski, Mayor of Cranbrook, 2014