Cheryl Montgomery – Work Hard, Listen, Be Fair, Care

Candidate Name: Montgomery, Cheryl
Why did you decide to run for office?

I am running for Council for several reasons. I’ve lived here my entire life and I care what happens in the future. I care that we continue to grow, and move toward the future growth of our city. The population continues to increase and we need to continue to evolve and provide opportunities that align with that growth. Having lived here, owned businesses, worked for the Municipality, and worked for the Private sector, I feel I have a lot of knowledge and experience I can bring to Council. Lastly, I have volunteered in GP since I was 7 years old. Most recently I was the President of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie. GP’s oldest club. I have also served as Director with the Chamber of Commerce for 4 years and on dozens and dozens of non profit organizations over the years. I feel serving on City Council would be a natural extension of the commitment I have for the Community.

What experience do you have with municipal government, in Grande Prairie or elsewhere?

I have pretty extensive experience with Municipal Government as I worked for the City for 6 years at a Management Level. I am very familiar with their policies and procedures as well as the strategic plan for the City along with future growth. I worked directly with Council and CLT in my role with Eastlink Centre. I was part of the GPAC Team that worked on Eastlink Centre construction and opening. I know I bring extensive Municipal experience that will be an asset to my role as a Councillor.

If elected, your term will run until 2021. What do you want Grande Prairie to look like four years from now?

Ideally, I would love that we continue on the path of repairing and developing infrastructure. Some of it is long over due and it is necessary to get it done before further development can proceed. I would like Taxes to remain where they are and for us to find opportunites for additional revenue. I would like to see the City truly be back open for business, and try to regain some of the market share in Commercial and Industrial taxes we have lost to the county. I would truly hope we can have the issues at EAstlink Centre turned around and moving in a positive and fiscally responsible way.

The average property tax bill in Grande Prairie is about $3,500. If we use the percentages from the 2016 Taxpayer Information handout and set aside the portion for schools, that means we use that homeowner’s taxes in this way

 

 

To explain some of the labels

Corporate Services include things such as information technology, facility maintenance, and finance.

City Manager’s Office includes communications, human resources, and legislative services, among others.

Community Living looks after transit, the Eastlink Centre, Coca-Cola Centre, Heritage, Parks, and Recreation

Community Safety and Growth covers fire, RCMP, enforcement services, transportation, engineering, inspection, and planning.

 

How would you like to see that money allocated among those uses?

Taxes have really crept up and up over the years and our City has also continue to improve in infrasture and development. Some of these costs are necessary costs. I think there is room though to evaluate our internal spending and budgets to ensure no further increases. It is a question of what we give up. And everyone has a different idea about what is important. So lets try and look the easy fixes first and second, develop that revenue stream further.

Many candidates talk about change but what do you think is working well in the city; what would you want to keep the same?

I think the rate of growth is great. We continue to grow and the more people we can invite to the city, both residents and corporate the more value we will see from the money we invest now in rebuilding and restructuring. Those are long term investments that will pay off with our continued growth. I love how outdoor spaces, and recreation are a priority here. We live in a northern community and we need these kinds of outlets for our residents to have over long winters.

We conducted a survey that identified Crime and Public Safety, Taxes, and Economic Growth as the top three issues for residents. What are your thoughts on those issues?

I agree with all three. Without a safe community, it doesn’t matter how many parks or facilities we have, our residents won’t be happy. We must continue to hammer away at the crime in the community and I think one of the most critical aspects to achieving success with that is our community engagement! Our residents must get involved with their neighbors, and start watching out for each other. No matter how many police we hire, they can’t be everywhere. We need to reinstated a sense of community, trust and that we have each others backs. Lets be aware of what is going on in the community and around us in the neighborhoods. Be a great citizen!

When voters ask “Why should I vote for you?”, what’s your answer?

Well I don’t make promises I can’t keep, but I do promise a few things I know I can keep. I promise to WORK HARD for the citizens of GP. I promise to LISTEN to the citizens and always be FAIR for what is BEST for everyone. I CARE deeply the direction of GP. I have children and grandchildren here. I want their futures to be bright, just like I want that for everyone’s kids. We owe that to them to make sure we hand them the best City we possibly can.

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