Originally published in the Medicine Hat News
There’s a new mayor in town.
Dwight Kilpatrick was sworn in as Redcliff’s chief magistrate at town council’s Monday night meeting.
Kilpatrick, who served as a town councillor for 28 years, defeated one-term mayor Ernie Reimer by 92 votes, or 8.4 percentage points, in the Oct. 16 municipal election.
“Hopefully we get some good progress going,” said Kilpatrick. “I look forward to the next four years.
“I’ve already started receiving phone calls from the public. I think the mayor does deal with that more than a councillor does.”
Although he has the ability to set priorities, he emphasized that he only has a single vote on council.
“Sitting here at the table, I’m one hand in the air and there’s seven of us. That’s the way I’m going to keep it. I don’t have any more say here than anyone else,” Kilpatrick said.
Kilpatrick also threw in a subtle jab at his predecessor, who after the results came in on election night said he feared Kilpatrick would impede the progress of the past four years.
“Hopefully I won’t go backwards,” said Kilpatrick.
Catherine Richardson, a board member of the Redcliff Public Library, provided a presentation to council at Monday’s meeting, requesting increased funding in the 2018 budget, while also touting the library’s accomplishments of the past year.
She cited the province’s minimum wage increase to $13.60 an hour this year, with another increase to $15 coming in October 2018, as the primary reason that the library needs more money from the town.
Another factor is Cypress County creating its own library board, which could drain funds from Redcliff’s.
“We can’t count on that funding this year,” Richardson said. “We hope it will come to us but we’re not counting that in.”
She said she didn’t want to cast the county as a “villain,” as less than 100 people from the county have Redcliff library cards.
“It didn’t seem fair to bludgeon people over such a small number of library card users,” said Richardson.
The library has used a variety of mechanisms at its disposal to increase revenue, such as raising the cost of an adult library card to $8 from $6, as well as numerous fundraisers, including its annual book sale.
Despite its financial woes, the library has 944 cardholders, an increase of 23 from last year, as well as 31,063 visits.
A motion put forward by Coun. Jim Steinke to move the library’s request forward to the budget was passed unanimously.
A separate motion put forward by newly-elected Coun. Chris Czember to accept Richardson’s presentation as information was also passed without dissent.