Council Notes from all over

Town of Calmar

Joanne Hagen

 The Town of Calmar regular Council meeting was called to order at the usual time on December 5 by Mayor Faulkner.
 C.A.R.E.S. is intending to file a CFEP or CIP grant application for a 50% grant for the new electronic community events message sign.  The Town is unable to access the Lottery grants and C.A.R.E.S. is willing to undertake the project by accessing CFEP or CIP grants and a 50% contribution from the Town.  One of the mandatory criteria is that the organization must submit, with its application, said Director Mike Storey, a letter of municipal support for the project.
 Councillor Don Bartlett moved that Council pass a resolution that the Town of Calmar supports the electronic community events message sign project as proposed by C.A.R.E.S.
 Director Storey also presented Council with a Letter of Understanding from the Library Board.  The original agreement covering the relationship between the Town and Library has been updated to reflect the current relationship that exists between the Town and Library.  Councillor Yachimetz moved that Town Council pass a resolution that the Letter of Understanding, dated January 1st, 2012, between the Town of Calmar and the Town of Calmar Library be approved.
 A request by Echo Valley Irrigation (Pad Holdings) to waive bulk water charge in the amount of $116.04 was made to Council.  Echo Valley Irrigation was the first to purchase a lot and apply for development within the Rigco portion of the Industrial Park.  Upon purchase of Lot 7, Block 4, Plan 062-0994 (5025-42 Avenue), new owner, Andre Dickner, asked the Town to approve his plans to build even without services provided to the lot.  Echo Valley constructed an Arched Rib Commercial Shop on the property and has since hauled water to the site from Calmar's Bulk Water Station.
Councillor Wiancko moved that the Town waive the $116.04 for inconvenience incurred due to the lengthy time it has taken to provide services to Lot 7, Block 4, Plan 062-0994.
 Council received a Development Application (2011-022D) from Mr. Jeff Ouelette to construct a two-story garage on his residential property located at Lot B, Block 9, Plan 9120030 (5003-52 Avenue).  Calmar Land Use Bylaw 2004-16 states that accessory buildings including garages cannot exceed 15 feet to the peak, therefore a variance of 8.75 feet must be granted by Council as the development authority.  If Council wishes to grant the variance, all surrounding property owners must be notified and they would then have a chance to appeal the decision.  A second variance that would be required is a relaxation of the side yard requirement.  As per Bylaw 2004-16 the minimum required side yard to allow access to a rear yard garage in a laneless area is 3 meters (9.84 feet), as per Real Property Report supplied by Mr. Oulette, there is only 2.79 meters (9.15 feet). 
Councillor Bartlett moved to not approve the development application.

 

Village of Thorsby

Linda M. Steinke

Mundare Revitalization Fact Finding Mission
 
 Village Council, Administration, three Chamber of Commerce executives and one business owner visited the Town of Mundare on Saturday, November 12. Mundare Town Council invited the Village of Thorsby to tour their revitalized town site and shared their insights regarding their downtown transformation.  Because Council is planning a downtown revitalization for Thorsby to attract new opportunities and help businesses thrive, they belive this was a great opportunity to explore what worked for Mundare and what didn’t.
 Mundare is a town of comparable size and the downtown core looks similar to Thorsby’s.
 Councillor Hart said, “I was very impressed with what Mundare did.  It was not what I expected. There was more infrastructure revitalization.”  One thing he came away with was that it is important to have shovel ready projects already on wish lists for when grants become available.
 Mayor Rasch said he liked the proactive way they hide the vacant lots—with historical signs so the attention is not so much on the vacancies.  
 Councillor Osness said she felt it was important to include businesses and the community—to “buy into” the project, with input into the beginning development sketches, so they will have a say in the long-term look of the downtown core.
 Councillor Williams notes the Chamber is interested in this initiative. He said Mundare’s infrastructure upgrade was amazing and it looks good; adding that in Mundare, forward thinking policies have created housing starts.
 Another thing that tweaked Mayor Rasch’s interest was the “business incubator” idea where Mundare is considering offering currently empty Town Office space to a commercial enterprise—possibly at a reduced rate. Rasch said he would like to see if it would make sense for Thorsby.   
 Representatives from Mundare are interested in coming to Thorsby to look at the recreation centre and water treatment plant.

Committee-of-the-Whole from Approved Minutes:
 The  39/20 Alliance meeting of November 1,  afforded opportunities for Council representatives to share information and discuss joint initiatives.  Discussed: 39/20 Councils should meet quarterly and joint committees should be established to pursue specific initiatives—economic development, marketing, public transportation.
 “CAO Wynne identified other communities that offer tax incentive bylaws or policies:  Sexsmith, St. Paul, Bruderheim and Rimbey.  Legal opinions offered to the Town of Rimbey by Brownlee LLP concluded the four Rimbey tax incentive bylaws drafted between 2003 and 2008 were invalid for three reasons:  they contravene subsection 347(1) of the MGA;  (2) they unlawfully discriminate between properties within the same taxable class; (3)  they fetter the discretion of Council to set property tax rates.  However, Brownlee also concluded “that Council may only cancel taxes on an individual basis under subsection 347.1 (b) in the year in which the tax is imposed.  As a result of this legal opinion, Rimbey Council chose to rescind their 4 bylaws and replace these with a Business Development Incentive Grant Program that offers grants based on the level of property assessment value.
 “CAO Wynne advised Council that an application procedure will be developed that (1) allows individual business and residential property owners to petition Council on an individual basis and (2) alerts property owners that Council can only make decisions for the present taxation year only. In addition, he has contacted Brownlee LLP for advice on the Thorsby Tax Incentive policy and subsequent procedure that will be developed.”
 Three 2012 budget ideas under discussion include the need for a streetlight and asphalt overlay at the corner of 50th Ave and 45th Street; consulting fees to assist with "visioning" main street development; cost of camera-ing Hankin Street sewer mains and possibly impregnating lines; sidewalk installation north of Hoffman's  warehouse on 49th Avenue.

Residential Tax Incentive
 Many inquiries have been made for copies of the new Business and Residential Tax Incentives. Since Thorsby announced the sweeping new Residential Tax Incentives they have already received a request for a Residential Tax Incentive.
Other:
 Parks and Rec staff look very professional in their new uniforms—a black button-up shirt with the parks and rec logo and a bright blue nylon vest with the parks and rec/village logo.  Public works will soon follow with blue jean shirts with name crests.
 Christmas in the Village Friday, December 9, 6 p.m.

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