New council will have struggle over debt

Noting he will miss the job, Councillor Laverne Asselstine announced last week he’s not seeking a second term on Sylvan Lake council.

Noting he will miss the job, Councillor Laverne Asselstine announced last week he’s not seeking a second term on Sylvan Lake council.

“Being on council is a huge commitment. A couple of meetings every week. It pretty much defines your schedule, you’re somewhat restricted,” he said.

His wife Lynn has recently retired and they’re looking forward to travelling and escaping some of the cold winter.

Commenting on his one term on council, Asselstine said, “It’s been interesting, given me an insight into how municipal government functions. I never really made decisions I wasn’t content with. I feel good about that.”

However, he added, there are a lot of issues that will be left on the table for the next council.

“You’d like to see them through to completion, but there’s no way in the world that would happen. The business of the municipality flows continuously. I stepped in for a short term. We took on capital projects when I stepped in three years ago, the town hall, fire hall. Someone else has to carry forward.”

Among the projects he’ll follow is the arena. “It will be interesting to see the plans for that.”

One item the new council will likely struggle with, he suggested, is the 10 year capital plan. “They’re

going to have to address that. It’s a fairly expensive outlook over the next 10 years. It’s going to be a challenge on their behalf. I’m not in favour of taking a lot of debt on. The arena, there’s going to have to be some debt. Council is going to have to decide how much they want. If they increase debt you carry forward the cost of debt. That either means cutting services or raising taxes. I’m not in favour of raising taxes, but I don’t think service cuts are the answer either. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Asselstine said before he was elected to council he was involved in the community as a volunteer. “I assisted where I felt I could. I’m going to continue doing that. I feel an individual needs to contribute to their community.”

He concluded, “I’d like to thank everybody for their support. The people in the municipality who had faith in me, voted me in and stood by me. I appreciate your thoughts and kindness in helping me do what I had to do.