A Morinville councillor is running for re-election this fall with hopes to rev up the town’s transit and social services.
Coun. Rebecca Balanko confirmed last week she would seek a second term on Morinville town council during this fall’s electoral contest.
A 19-year resident of Morinville, Balanko is a mental-health co-ordinator for Sturgeon Public Schools who was elected to town council in 2017.
Balanko said she sought a second term to address the many projects council put on hold during to the COVID-19 pandemic. The town has done a lot of work on regional transit, for example, but had to drop its proposed transit pilot with St. Albert last fall due to the pandemic’s effect on bus use.
“We lose a lot of youth here because we don’t have an opportunity for transportation if they’re going to post-secondary,” she said.
Balanko said the pandemic also highlighted gaps in the town’s social safety nets, such as the importance of the town’s library and grocery delivery services. While groups such as the Midstream Support Society and Higher Grounds stepped up in a big way, the town needs to do a better job of supporting its most vulnerable residents.
Balanko said she wants to revive the town’s transit pilot with St. Albert and meet once again with community groups to help them co-ordinate services.
She also wants to keep taxes and spending in check, saying that she has consistently spoken against tax hikes in the last three budgets and proposed a hiring freeze and a three-per-cent pay cut for council and non-unionized staff in the last term. (The freeze and pay-cut motions were defeated.)
Balanko described herself as a strong community advocate who is not afraid to stand alone on a vote.
Nominations for the Morinville council election are due Sept. 20. Visit www.morinville.ca/en/town-hall/election.aspx for details.