Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Vol 15, Issue 1
Committee of the Whole
Nov. 27, 2010: After discussion, Council identified the following “main action initiatives” for the next three years as: (1) Thorsby Marketing Plan, (2) Thorsby Downtown Revitalization project, and (3) Thorsby Parks Development project.
– agreed to continue the policy review and development process in 2011;
– discussed financing associated with the water treatment plant and recreation complex redevelopment;
– discussed the purchase of land from Boric Investments Inc. and the prospective bulk water distribution station that may be sited on it;
– deliberations regarding the 2011 budget are to commence in January, 2011.
Regular Council Meeting
Welcome to Sergeant M.L. (Marty) Hooper Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, RCMP, Thorsby/Breton Detachment, who formally introduced himself to Council during the regular meeting. Sgt. Hooper has returned to his home province following 20 years of service on Vancouver Island. The merger of Thorsby and Breton detachments became effective April 1, 2010. Hooper, who will answer to six different Mayors and Councils, said, “I welcome any questions and look forward to working with you.” Adding another clerical position to free up an officer [at Thorsby] is still part of ongoing discussions. However, Hooper said he doesn’t “foresee going into operational capacity as Acting Sgt. Angus did.” Hooper is not yet seeking funds; but said he would appreciate a letter of support from Council for the meeting with Leduc County.
Welcome, Christine Burke, to your new position as Corporate Services Manager. Thank you to Dennis Litke, for your admirable service as Thorsby’s Treasurer for the past few years.
CORPORATE SERVICES (formerly Treasurer)—First contributions towards the Rec Complex project have been received from the County ($210,000) and the Western Diversification Grant ($169,712).
Summer Village—data transfer to Great Plains software is going well. Investigation into non-compliance payroll matters for Silver Beach has revealed some issues and will be addressed under separate cover to Silver Beach Council.
RECREATION (as of Dec. 10): Construction for the Rec Centre is going well and still on schedule. All glazing is completed, the floor is in, painting is almost complete, overhead doors in this week. Rec Director Laurie Gellert reports, “the biggest item left is the movable wall in the dance/fitness area. Other than that, most of the work left is finishing work.” Grand opening is tentatively set for January 29 from 1 to 5 pm.
– At the Christmas Craft and Small Business Fair (Nov. 12 & 13), the redevelopment committee raised $1,200. Thorsby Rec Board donated another $3000 from their Halloween bash, making them a Gold Sponsor with a total of $5,500 donated to date.
– Rec Board handed out bags of goodies for Santa and the Rec Department received 20 entries for their annual Gingerbread Village Contest during the Dec. 3 Christmas in the Village event.
– Fundraising Committee ran a silent auction and concession for the Gord Bamford Christmas Concert (Dec 10).
– Watch for the new program guide coming out by January 14.
– Lots of fun Family Day Activities are planned. February 21 at the Rec Complex.
– Tickets are on sale for the February 23 Edmonton Oiler Kings game against the Calgary Hitmen. 50/50 tickets will be sold at the game with proceeds going to the redevelopment.
– Go Girl is planned for February 26.
Parks and Rec staff have received their new shirts. Shirts and jackets have been ordered for the redevelopment committee members as a thank you for their dedication to the redevelopment project and will be worn by the members at all redevelopment functions in the future.
“The high school grad class 2011 has partnered with the recreation department in regards to the community events sign—students make the necessary changes for coming events posted on the board for an honorarium—a win-win for both organizations and so far things are going smoothly.”
CAO REPORT: CAO Wynne and Chief Norm Osness met with Jeremy Wagner of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency for a fire discipline audit. Two items flagged: the need for a fireworks bylaw and ensuring that Leduc County provides copies of fire investigation reports to the Village.
CAO met with Jane and Rusty Hurl of “Wild Pink Yonder”—an inter-municipal trail ride featuring horses dyed pink to raise funds for breast cancer. Thorsby Rec Director and Ag Society will explore the possibility of sponsoring this event on August 30, 2011
SCHOOL UPDATE: Black Gold School trustee, Sam Kobeluck, presented a report at the November 9 meeting. Because the new school is to be “green,” Kobeluck is in touch with Green Vision Products Inc. for product inquiry. Removal of the old elementary school was discussed. Items that can be salvaged will be sold. The school will be hauled to Red Deer or Swan Hills for disposal. There are two new members on the Black Gold School Board.
In a December 27 telephone interview, Thorsby Elementary School Principal Chris Grab said they hope to be in the new school in early 2011, “five to six weeks after we reach substantial. Teachers will need time to move over to the new school. Everyone will be told well in advance of the date.”
Elementary School Roadway: CAO and Black Gold Project Manager Warren Watson are reviewing the final plans for the ES parking lot, bus lane, parent unloading area and Village street development. “The Village will have to assume responsibility for upgrading this street and this may include extending water/sewer infrastructure,” said Wynne. CAO and Watson are working on a joint proposal to cost-share in the engineering design work for the project. Wynne reports they “hope to have the roadway in place this summer for school year 2011/2012.”
Constituency Boundary Change: Devon will join the former Drayton Valley-Calmar riding to form the new riding of Drayton Valley-Devon (w/Diana McQueen as MLA). The riding of Leduc-Beaumont will be renamed to reflect the change (w/George Rogers serving as MLA).
ATCO Gas Franchise Agreement (Bylaw No. 2010-07) received approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission and was given 3rd reading and passed. The new agreement now allows for an annual review of the franchise fee rate. Also, “ATCO will pay their taxes as any other property owner in the village,” said Treasurer Dennis Litke. “The new agreement with a rate of 10% plus collection of property taxes (from ATCO)….At 10% franchise fee, this would bring in about $24-25 thousand, plus ATCO’s property taxes which are about $24-25 thousand.” Percentage rates ranged from 5.00 (Onoway) and 8.70 (Beaverlodge) to 12.00 (Breton) and 15.00 (Bashaw) with Thorsby’s on par with Warburg and Tofield.
Dubbed the “Borrowing Bylaw,” Bylaw #2010-09, which, as CAO explains, “municipalities are obliged to pass every year as a financing strategy (for 2011 Operating Expenditures until May tax)," was given third reading and passed.
Leduc County is no longer eligible for the Unconditional Municipal Grant Program, as it has been discontinued by the Province in 2010/11. Therefore, Leduc County will no longer administer the Public Transportation Operating Assistance Grant, effective immediately. However, many of the projects are still eligible for funding under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative Program.
Council discussed a moratorium on accepting Board appointments until the Board Review is completed (est. 2-3 months). On the "pro" side: some Boards may no longer exist in their present state following the Review, so better to wait to accept new appointments until after we see what the Boards will be. The "con" argument: in the interim, making quorum could become an issue if a board member should vacate before the review is completed; thus, a board risks not being able to proceed with business.. A motion that there “be no appointments to Council Boards until the Board Review is completed” was defeated three to two.
A request for changes to the Regional Assessment Review Board has been submitted to Municipal Affairs. Local Assessment Board wants to see: (1) more front line staff training to ensure ratepayers are provided proper information on completing forms, information required and timelines; (2) Assessors must provide a sampling of comparable properties so the Board may determine market value. (3) less burdensome LARB regulations for citizens. As well, more flexibility is needed allowing appellants to express relevant concerns at the hearing instead of being restricted to only what is stated on the form. According to Leduc County Mayor, John Whaley, “Board Members should be able to have more flexibility to hear LARB complaints as the Rules of Justice should prevail.”
After reviewing the details of the Inter-municipal Services Agreement between the Village of Thorsby and the summer villages of Sundance Beach and Silver Beach, Hector Goudreau, Minister of Municipal Affairs suggested the agreement “be submitted to the Municipal Excellence Network as an example of an innovative partnership between municipalities that benefits all parties.” Adding, “You are commended for doing this!” CAO Wynne noted this agreement has caused a “very favourable stir” in Municipal Affairs.
Council received information regarding the Hole in the Head Gang (Wild Pink Yonder) which will ride into communities throughout Alberta this August 12-September 3. In 2010, the ride raised $75,000 for breast cancer research. Towns electing to be involved are entered into a contest. The reward—a free music concert and bragging rights in the form of town entrance signs that proclaim them to be “The Pinkest Little Town in the West.”