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Council receives high marks

Banff’s politicians have received good grades for their performance so far on issues considered important to Banff’s hoteliers.

Banff’s politicians have received good grades for their performance so far on issues considered important to Banff’s hoteliers.

That’s according to a first quarter scorecard from the Banff Lake Louise Hotel Motel Association (BLLHMA), which has rated council’s performance on issues since last October’s election.

Council gets a B for their handling of the new garbage and recycling collection, an A for their work on sustainable transportation and a B for moving ahead on a commercial inventory as part of the land use bylaw.

In addition, they scored an A for their delivery of municipal services and B for trying to find alternate revenue to address the infrastructure deficit and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

“It’s early days and time will tell, but this appears to be a good start,” said Darren Reeder, BLLHMA’s executive director.

“These are the issues we have identified as very key to the needs to the business community.”

Individual councillors were also marked with favourable checkmarks, which indicated a vote on a variety of issues since October that generally reflected BLLHMA’s views or policy position.

Of a total of 13 possible checkmarks, most councillors received 10, while Counc. Leslie Taylor had the highest number at 11 and Coun. Brian Standish the lowest at nine.

Issues they were rated on include financial plan, budget, visitor experience, the commercial floor inventory, the waste and recycling utility and transportation.

Councillors Paul Baxter and Stavros Karlos were the only ones to get a checkmark for their attempt to further slash wages and benefits in the 2011 operating budget.

As well, those two councillors were also singled out for special mention for their vote on trying to cut an additional $179,000 from the operating budget in December.

Reeder said Karlos and Baxter “stood out among their peers on that issue.

“That was an instance where we felt there were some real concerns with how budget was going and not enough emphasis put on cost-cutting measures.”

“We did get a sense that everyone understood we were dealing with some serious economic times, but there was a tenacity demonstrated by both of those councillors.”

Most councillors said the scorecard was a fair and legitimate appraisal, and in fact, some even gave BLLHMA an A-plus for citizen engagement and activism.

They also indicated it was a good tool for public accountability of mayor and council.

Mayor Karen Sorensen said the current report card is accurate in terms of how council voted.

“I appreciate knowing what issues are of great concern for this important part of our business sector,” she said.

Baxter said he believes the scorecard is a fact-based document and a fair appraisal.

“The BLLHMA can defend their evaluation structure and I feel every councillor has the opportunity to defend their position on any given topic,” he said.

“I do value the input from the BLLHMA and encourage any other organization or resident to provide similar fact based feedback.”

Karlos said he didn’t believe the scorecard was a fair appraisal, “because this scorecard paints me as a rational decision-maker”.

“If I was rational, I wouldn’t be in politics,” he quipped.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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