County of Wetaskiwin approves mill rate bylaw May 1

Unpaid utility bills transferred to tax bills

County of Wetaskiwin council approved their annual tax mill rate bylaw during their regular meeting May 1.

Annual tax mill rate bylaw

Director of Finance Grace French presented the annual tax mill rate bylaw, including mill rates for different land classes that will meet the budget council already approved.

Councilors approved the 2018 tax mill rate bylaw.

Indigenous consultation report

County CAO Rod Hawken reported he had attended the First Nations and Métis consultation meeting in Edmonton. Hawken noted that, of all three levels of government, only about 1 per cent of consultation requests come from the municipal level.

He also stated the committee will be meeting with First Nations groups individually.

G3 grain terminal

Councilor Dale Woitt asked where the proposed G3 grain terminal project proposed for south of Wetaskiwin is at.

Hawken responded the county has received the area structure plan and payment and the plan has been sent to agencies for referral.

If there are no objections, then the ASP will likely go to a public hearing in June.

Retirement

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers noted Grace French, director of Finance, has announced her retirement. Eric Hofbauer, account, has been selected as the new director of Finance for the County of Wetaskiwin.

Special tax bylaws

French presented to councilors a number of bylaws that place special taxes in specific areas of the county to pay for special projects like drainage or water management. All were approved by council.

Council reports

Each of the councilors reported on several interesting tidbits from the month of April.

Councilor Bill Kraan said he’d recently been speaking with local farmers at a fire hall meeting and was impressed with how well the fire departments are run.

Councilor Dale Woitt is on the landfill authority board and reported that the County of Wetaskiwin is moving toward having their own financial books within the group. Camrose County will still take care of the landfill, but Wetaskiwin will keep track of its own finances. Woitt noted the landfill is a very well-run place.

Woitt also attended a fire hall meeting, reporting that it was great for new councilors to learn more about the fire departments and learn about the practice facility. Woitt said the staff and firefighters seemed encouraged to have councilors visit them.

Councilor Lyle Seely reported a recent Central Alberta Economic Partnership meeting where he heard a consultant has been hired to do case studies for rural broadband internet in the county’s hamlets. Seely said broadband internet service would help attract people to the hamlets.

Woitt asked if CAEP and JEDI overlap. Seely responded the organizations are two different bodies, CAEP encourages economic development across central Alberta, whereas JEDI focuses only on industrial growth in Millet and the County of Wetaskiwin.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers noted she was planning to attend the Leduc Mayors Prayer banquet, but received a call the day of the event that it had been cancelled.

Transfer to taxes

French brought forward to councilors of list of unpaid utility bills. “Council will be provided a list of landowners who have neglected to pay their utility charges which includes water, sewer and transfer stations,” stated the agenda memo.

“These public utility users receive an invoice for service bi-monthly, including the balance forward, which indicates any previous amounts outstanding and interest charges on arrears.” Staff requested the unpaid amounts be transferred to the property owner’s tax bill. Councilors unanimously approved it.Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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