My name is Debbie Cherkas. Not many of you know me. Don and I have been married for 21 years and we were both previously married for 18 years before both of our spouses passed away. Don and I moved to Creston in 2008 and built our retirement home. We looked at many towns and did comparisons before making this decision. We love the valley, the lake, the close proximity to the border and the weather…nine months a year.
My work history is all with one company which is a blessing as well as a curse. My many roles make me well equipped to take on the role of councilor. I had the good fortune and responsibility for negotiating contracts in various parts of the world.
My parents always taught me that if you speak up then you must be prepared to stand up. So here I am standing up for the citizens of Creston. I believe my knowledge of project management, budgeting, purchasing, and accounting equips me to be an asset to council.
Taxation is one of my concerns, looking at the stats for all the 35 communities with population 5 to 15K the town also uses as a guideline. I found that Creston has the second highest total residential mill rate of the 35. There are solutions. The issue of growth and expansion to commercial and industrial business should be the number one objective on everyone’s mind. Without added commercial and industrial tax base in the town of Creston, the spending and increasing residential taxes year after year is not sustainable. Many citizens are concerned how to pay property taxes so they can remain in their homes. Younger people starting out have an incredible uphill battle to try to purchase a house, as well as paying all their other expenses. Costs are not going down – they are going up. Wage and pensions increases are not keeping up. That is why council needs to re-visit all budgets and projects to evaluate cradle to grave cost to understand sustainability.
I am in favour of the Creston Valley Kootenay Lake Action Partnership. The citizens of Creston have valuable input as to what they want to see move to Creston. I will study the OCP and contact the Western Canada Business Service Network re future development.
I would like General Fund spending transitioned to zero-based budgeting. You shouldn’t just add an inflation factor to last year’s budget amount.
As I learned at the candidates’ meeting in Castlegar, Creston is not the only community with similar issues. The citizens need to be consulted as to the services – and service levels – that they want … and are willing to pay for.
I look forward to talking to as many citizens of Creston as possible to obtain your suggestions and ideas and answer any questions you may have on either my platform or my background. You can also contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook/Linkedin: Debbie Cherkas