Village of Thorsby Council - March 22, 2011

Vol 15. Issue 14, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer

Nancy Laing, Leduc Foundation Executive Director, met with Council to review present and future housing needs, and share housing success stories throughout the region, including Thorsby.

2010 Audited Financial Statements
Phil Dirks, CA with Hawkings Epp Dumont LLP, presented the auditor’s findings of the 2010 financial statements. Dirks stated, “The significant accounting policies, estimates and judgements by management do not materially misstate
the financial statements taken as a whole.”

Thorsby is entitled to Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership program grant funding for the project to a maximum
$5,838,742 of approved eligible costs. The Village has incurred costs (for the treatment plant) in the amount of $4,268,424 as of December 31, 2010. Revenues total $2,376,342. The top five revenue items are as follows: Actual net municipal
property taxes- 1,159,938; Sales and user charges-708,149; government transfers for operating- 429,641; Rentals-84,371;
Franchise and concession contracts-53,986. According to Dirks, Thorsby is in the 41% percentile of grant money received with the Alberta average in the 21% percentile. 29% of Thorsby’s revenues come through taxes (compared to the 26%
a v e r a g e ) . Expenses total $2,376,789. The top five expense items are as follows—Parks and Rec-709,691; General Administration- 487,580; Roads, streets, walks and lighting-487,580; Water supply and distribution- 262,207; Fire-161,840;
Waste management-68,189. Assets: Financial Assets-- $1,733,417; Non-financial Assets--$12,568,011. Liabilities: $2,066,721. Accumulated Year End Surplus: $12,234,707. “It’s basically equity on capital assets,” said Dirks. The Village
is committed to the construction of a new water treatment facility with an estimated total cost of $7,784,989. Debt: Dirk
said, “(You) don’t have a lot of debt per capita....At the end of 2010, there was $3.5 million in remaining debt limit, well within the debt limit. That’s good. You are on the lower end of the debt continuum.” The net financial debt is $333,304. Dirks had this additional comment, “If you had to shut down on December 31, 2010, this is what it would have looked like--$100,000
short. Not a great position to be in....” But not a panic situation either, “It’s not unusual that it’s negative; we prefer to be on the positive side.”

Committee of the Whole Meeting March 12
A Town Hall meeting will be held in the Community Hall on Thursday, May 12, 2011 from 7-9 PM. There will be a Municipal
Affairs PowerPoint presentation comparing Thorsby to other villages followed by an open discussion on how Council is doing and what residents would like Council to do, Community initiatives, the 2011 budget; and a mixer for residents and

Rec Board: Council discussed draft documents reflecting the direction that Thorsby Council wishes to take regarding a joint Village- Leduc County District Recreation Advisory Committee.

Seniors Program Planning
Board Review: Because the Alberta Government public transportation operating assistance grant (Seniors’ Bus) through
Leduc County FCSS will no longer be given, there is no longer a need for a Senior’s Program Planning Board to administer this program.

CAO Wynne recommends Bylaw 2006-09 (establishing SPPB) be rescinded, with current cash on hand held by the seniors  board being retained for the purpose of seniors transportation or other related activity in the future. Committee was supportive of this direction. The snow removal bylaw that limits clearing snow during the hours of 7 am to 11 pm was discussed. CAO noted snow removal was addressed in two bylaws (noise and nuisance) and that the Nuisance Bylaw
2006-08 allows the Village and other contractors to work outside the hours of 7 am to 11 pm to clear snow.

CAO Report:
Strategic planning for parks development, downtown revitalization and community marketing is moving ahead in Council
Committee meetings. The  focus has been on the role of the committee, developing a shared vision, and development
of a specific plan. When Councillor Hart asked about expanding the committee to include a representative from business, CAO suggested maybe a public forum or survey might be considered versus being in committee. Since last October, CAO has been establishing the administration systems in the summer villages of Silver Beach and Sundance Beach. Having attended recent regular meetings with both Councils, CAO reports, “The Councils at both summer villages are well pleased with the service they have received from the Thorsby administration.

Water Treatment Plant Update:
The membrane trains for the filtration system are in place. Piping, valves and controllers are presently being installed. The plant is on schedule for completion this summer. CAO reports, “We have taken in revenue from our $1 million debenture towards construction costs for the WTP and administration is presently undertaking a financial analysis for both the completion of the capital project and ongoing operations of the WTP.”

Yard and Garden Show Update:
Scheduled for June 10 and 11, the show will feature yard structures, greenhouses, water features, arbour culture, grass/sod,
outdoor living space design, flower and vegetable gardens, composting, green technology, and solar energy.

On Saturday, June 11, the Ride for Dad motorcycle rally will come through Thorsby.

Discussion items Bylaw 2006-09, establishing the Seniors’ Program Planning Board, was repealed. Councillor Hart suggested if the SPPB continues as a club that the money should be given back to them to disburse, “I don’t think we
should take it back and hold it.” Councillor Pharis agrees, “They applied for the grants and did a wonderful job fundraising over tenthousand dollars.” Hart understands that because of the dissolution of the board that the money has to come back to the Village, but says it should go back to them as a club. There are now two seniors’ groups in Thorsby. Will they merge  together or form a separate club or society? Time will tell. In the meantime, the remaining assets will be held in trust by
the Village.

Luke Ouellette, Minister of Transportation for Alberta Transportation has announced an Alberta government cost-shared funding provided to the Village of Thorsby under two 2011 Transportation grant programs: Thorsby will receive $59,280 from the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant for Streets Improvement, based on $60 per capita. And the Federal Gas Tax Fund in the amount of $52,665. Council approved a formalized agreement with Leduc Foundation to harbour tenants from the Happy Haven Apartments at the Thorsby Recreation Centre in case of a major emergency. Council also designated the Community Hall as an alternate location due to its quieter space.

Council voted 4 to 1 (Hart opposed and requested a recorded vote) to approve the signing of the Capitol Region Mutual Aid

A letter of support will be given to the Junior- Senior high school for the request for a grant for sports equipment through  Alberta Sports Foundation, tourism and Recreation. Councillor Williams reports the Chamber of Commerce has donated
$1000 each to the Central AB Memorial Riders and Communities In Bloom. Councillor Hart shared a rather interesting, if
not provocative statistic from the Alberta Productivity Board. “Of the developed countries, Canada ranks 29th. Alberta has the lowest unemployment rate and the highest number of hours worked per month. Yet, out of ten provinces and three territories, Alberta is dead last in productivity.”

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