Council Notes From All Over


Lorna Lowe

    Council was called to order at 6:57 pm with all Councillors present.
    There were no changes to the agenda and no public presentations.
Contract For New Town Pound: 
    CPO Weavell presented Council with a contract on behalf of Country Kennels to become the new Animal Pound for the Town of Calmar. Previously Second Home Pet Resort had provided this service but their contract had expired. 
The cost to Calmar for Country Kennels to maintain the agreement would be $220.00/month which actually saved the town $12.00/year from the previous contract.
    Councillor Bartlett appeared to have an issue with the cost of the service and stated that he wanted to ask a "politically incorrect" question. He then inquired of CPO Weavell if there was a way to "make a profit" on unclaimed animals by selling them for research. His question was immediately quashed by the rest of Council loudly objecting to his query.    
    Councillor Borodawka motioned to approve the contract and Council passed it unanimously.
Operational Surplus Transfers: 
    A recommendation was placed before Council to move the 2012 Operational Surplus of $356,009.75 into several different reserve funds. This surplus was created from excess unbudgeted revenues, investment interest, arena revenues and various cost savings. It was proposed to transfer these funds as follows; $18,800.00 to the Allowance For Doubtful Tax Accounts to cover the increase in tax roll #0877.00 which is the lot on Westview Drive in the Town's name, $95,500.00 to the Transportation Reserve, $94,500.00 to the Infrastructure Reserve, $2,495.00 to the Library Facility Reserve, $50,000.00 to the Town Hall Reserve, and $94,714.00 to the Operating Contingency Reserve. 
    Council voted to unanimously approve the transfers.
2013 Capital Budget: 
    The final draft of the 2013 Town of Calmar's Capital Budget was brought before Council for approval. The total budget is $3,245,028.00, broken down with $1,808,863.00 coming from Provincial Grants, $674,660.00 coming from Reserves, and $761,505.00 coming from other.
    Council unanimously passed the 2013 Capital Budget as presented. 
Second Draft of 2013 Operating Budget (Municipal Portion Only):  Council approved this second draft of the Municipal Portion of the 2013 Operating Budget that reflects a 2.5% increase from the 2012 Budget. 
Business Licence Bylaw Review: 
    Calmar's Director of Planning and Development, Ed Melesko, requested a review of the town's business licence bylaw as there have been recent issues raised concerning multiple businesses being run out of a single location using only one business licence. It was brought to Council's attention that in other municipalities if different businesses were operating out of a single location, but each had a different phone number, then each business was required to have a licence.  So Mr. Melesko was requesting permission from Council to review Calmar's Business Licence Bylaw to see if amendments were required.
Council agreed to allow the review of the bylaw.
Calmar Library Expansion:  
    Two members of the Calmar Library Board came before Council to request that Council ratify their updated bylaws, and also to inform them that they had just received word that their request for funding had been denied this year so the hoped-for library expansion would not be happening at this time. Council unanimously accepted the Board's new bylaws.
Amendment To Sidewalk Clearing Bylaw: 
    Council agreed to defer this item due to some clarification required in the wording of the amendment.
2013 Calmar Fire Department Policy And Incentives: Fire Chief David Brooks came before Council to present the 2013 Level Of Service Policy to Council as well as some new incentives for Calmar's firefighters.
    The 2013 rate of remuneration for Calmar's firefighters will remain the same as in 2012 but Chief Brooks stated that he will be bringing next year's budget before Council showing an increase in order to bring Calmar's rate up to the Provincial standard. Currently Calmar's rate is approximately $3.00 under the average.
    He also instituted an incentive that would give a member who recruited a new member a $100.00 catalogue credit, as well as proposing awards for milestone years served with the department. 
    Council unanimously approved the rates for 2013.
    Chief Brooks was also able to report some good news to Council in that the Calmar Fire Department had accepted two new recruits on the previous Tuesday, and he was awaiting the receipt of three more applications due to be turned in. Council was very pleased with this information.
    Council was adjourned at 8:55 with no in camera items.


Linda M. Steinke
        Administration is working on costing out a streetlight at the cemetery. Councillor Williams requested solid quotes and not “guesstimates” for upcoming budget talks. He stressed it being a public safety issue and noted it’s been an ongoing issue since he’s been on council. He also inquired about the possibility of getting quotes from other companies. 
        Council unanimously approved the adoption of the schedule of fees and charges for 2013-14 for the upcoming budget.
        Drawing from other policies and procedures in the Capital Region, Town Manager Payette introduced a new Policy Title—Properties Disposal—which deals with the procedure of disposing of obsolete, surplus or unserviceable materials and equipment. Mayor Rasch and Councillor  Williams commented this will enable Council and the public to be more aware of asset disposal because once an itemized assets disposal list is provided to Council for discussion, it will be entered into the public record. Councillor Hart noted this will prevent disposal of assets unawares and looking for it years down the road.  Council tabled the policy in order to review it for the next meeting.
Corporate Services Manager’s Report:  
Christine Burke
        “As noted by the auditor, tax arrears continue to be a concern.”  Burke notes there is a procedure for their recovery, but it is a potentially lengthy process with no guarantee of recovery if no one purchases the concerned properties. 
        The outstanding has gone from $94 thousand (39 properties) in 2010; to $145.6 thousand (51 properties) in 2011; to $191.5 thousand (48 properties) in 2012—an “alarming trend” when comparing the outstanding tax revenue to overall revenues from property taxation (13.04%).  
        The good news—there is a lower amount of new properties in arrears, but the number of spill over properties in arrears from 2011 is still high. Burke is working with a third homeowner through a Tax Agreement to assist them to catch up on taxes, “hopefully” “without them…losing their property.”
        Welcome, Bill Adams, Thorsby’s new Water Treatment Supervisor!  Adams holds certifications in Level lll Water Treatment and Wastewater and Level ll Water Distribution.  He is experienced in running public works and has assumed the Public Works Manager position as well.
        The 2012 Audit (by Phil Dirks) is tentatively scheduled for March 11 or thereabouts. 
Parks and Rec Report:
Kelly Probe 
        The new Winter Program Guides were released in the third week of December.  22-25 kids attended the Kids’ Christmas Camp. There were 23 entries in the Gingerbread Contest.
Upcoming Arctic Spas Rec Centre events: 
    Family Day activities will be held on Feb. 18; Get Up and Go Girl will be offered on March 2, 2013.
Also for teen girls, during the free after school program—a self-defence program taught by Aaron Young who is volunteering his time. Community Fit Limited (CFL) will provide the necessary equipment.
        “We have partnered with CFL for the Alberta Sport, Recreation Parks, and Wildlife Foundation grant application and were successful.” Watch for new Fieldhouse and group fitness equipment as well as weight room equipment—hoist, decline bench, set of hex dumbbells & body bars—all totalling $18,000. “The financial commitment to achieve this is: Complex $5,000; CFL $8,000; and Grant $5,000.”
        Welcome to the new part time staff member, Debbie Neville.
Chiller Report: 
    The unit has been functioning well and should make it through the rest of the season. Quotes for the new chiller are being reviewed.
        Development of the equipment room storage is underway.
 Council Discussions
        Councillor Osness spoke of the idea that local community groups might wish to use the Events Calendar on the Village website.  Groups would see which dates are taken and plan event dates more effectively. Mayor Rasch added that the Village community events calendar program allows groups to input online what they want to go on the calendar, and once submitted, the Village approves and posts it.
        Councillor Pharis reports attending a recent Capital Regional Board - Housing meeting.  She stressed the need for tangible outcomes for smaller communities.

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