Transparency, taxes key concerns for candidate

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Transparency and fiscal responsibility are two key issues for an Okotoks town council candidate.

Jesse Krsa is filing his intent to run for council in the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 16. After living in town for 12 years, he said he’s been around long enough to understand the community, see some of the major decisions council has made, and watch the town change.

“With some of those changes there’s been lots of different decisions made by council, and some I agree with, some I don’t,” said Krsa. “I thought this is a way I can be involved and contribute back.”

He said his family fits the average demographic of Okotoks and he feels he’ll be able to represent Okotokians well on council.

With a degree in business from the University of Lethbridge and years of experience in marketing, business development and construction, he said he brings some key skills and knowledge to the table.

“The town is kind of ongoing in a development phase where, whether it be commercial, whether it be residential, there’s always something going on expansion-wise,” said Krsa. “I think I can offer perspective on those types of topics as well.”

He’s particularly interested in working with the Town’s economic development team and being involved with rebranding efforts. He said his background in marketing and business could provide insight in those areas.

While the Town does a pretty good job with marketing, he said there is always room for improvement and he believes he can bring new ideas and a fresh set of eyes to things like rebranding, business and tourism.

He’s also interested in establishing more facilities to accommodate the arts community in Okotoks, from dance studio recitals to artist exhibitions.

“I think that enriches a town when you can up the cultural factors it offers,” said Krsa. “I think we do a pretty good job of that, but I think we have opportunities to do better as well.”

After attending a few council meetings and following the Town closely over the past year, Krsa said there are a couple of things he would like to push for: more transparency and readily available information for the public, and putting a stop to tax increases.

For him, it’s about being fiscally conservative, which means doing projects and spending money at the right time. It’s also about making Okotoks more affordable, he said.

“Let’s lower taxes,” said Krsa. “I’m in a house and I pay more taxes than somebody in a way bigger house than myself in Calgary. Let’s look at ways to find cost efficiencies and be more effective.

“Let’s look at a way of being better with what we have instead of trying to take more to do more.”

Besides fiscal responsibility, he said he’d like to see council matters more available to residents. While information can be found on the website, he said it’s not the same as being able to see what happens in council meetings.

Most people in town aren’t sure where to look for information on what council is doing, where the Town stands financially or how tax dollars are being spent, he said.

“I just want to open it up and make it easier for people to find the information they’re looking for,” said Krsa.

Council meetings take place at 1 p.m. on Mondays, which can be difficult for a lot of people to take in regardless of their interest or investment in Town matters, he said.

Something he’d like to see is a live feed in council chambers, which would make meetings more accessible for more people, said Krsa.

“If you have a video online that someone, say after 8 p.m. when the kids go to bed, can just sit down for an hour and go through to see what actually happened in that council meeting,” he said. “I think that could make a huge difference in engaging the demographic I represent.”

His campaign will focus on engaging the community, which he plans to do through Facebook and his website: www.jessekrsa.com, as well as through email at krsaforcouncil@gmail.com.

He said it’s important to hear from residents during the weeks leading to the election.

“The more people who are engaged the better, and more of what people in Okotoks want will be seen and heard,” said Krsa.

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