With the end of 2018 approaching, Stratchona County mayor Rod Frank looked back on the past year.
Frank said he was proud of how much the county achieved. One of their biggest accomplishments was managing their budget, as council was able to keep the tax increase to only 0.83 per cent.
"That is important because a lot of families are struggling, living month to month, a lot of businesses also and we want to be able to keep and maintain our level of municipal services at the same time," said Frank.
The county also made strong headway with the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, which develops long-range regional growth management plans with local municipalities.
Strathcona County overcame a lot of adversity throughout the year. The first event that jumped to Frank's mind was the explosions in the Strathcona County Community Centre. About 500 people were displaced from their jobs overnight, which the county had to find solutions for. They had to deal with the extensive damage that was done as well.
"Of course we had a lot of help from our neighbors and friends, including Fort Saskatchewan. But that was a really big part of the challenges that we faced."
Another issue the county has been trying to find solutions for is assisting small and medium business in the region. Frank said there are a lot of economic pressures on them and the county has made it a goal to lessen the stress and create a more equal and competitive playing field.
Their goal for 2019 is to strengthen the county's relationship with their neighbors, like Fort Saskatchewan. The two municipalities have already collaborated together through their annexation plan and shared recreation passes.
Looking into the new year, Strathcona County is starting off with a bang by hosting the Hometown Hockey tour on January 5 and 6.
"I want to remind everybody, although there are some signs the economy still isn't where it should be, we live in a great region in Alberta and we're very successful," he added. "So I'm looking forward to another great year for all of our citizens."

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