Kneehill County Council passes Master Rates Bylaw

Kneehill County Logo

BDO Canada Auditors, Alan Litster, Ryan Wachter and Mitchell Kennedy provided Kneehill County Council with a planning report for the audit strategy for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018.  It Included a timeline with final completion scheduled for the week of April 23, 2019.

A Subdivision Extension was approved for approximately 3.75 acres to be subdivided out of a 159-acre parcel on NW 9-34-24-W4. The applicants anticipate they will be able to meet the outspending conditions in spring/summer of 2019. The fee of a time extension is $250. Council moved to grant an eight month extension until August 15, 2019.

Borrowing Bylaw 1782 was approved, for borrowing to finance Operating Expenditures if required. Mike Morton noted that the preliminary cash forecast or budget does not reflect the need to access short term operation credit in 2019. With this approval however, the County will be able to access this credit for short term purposes without delay, in case of unforeseen timing of transfers, events or expenditures prior to taxes being collected in October.

Master Rates Bylaw

Third Reading was given to Bylaw 1781 - Master Rates Bylaw with water rates now finalized as $2.00/cubic metre for Huxley and Wimborne. Other Hamlets (Swalwell, Torrington) are at $3.50/cubic metre, as well as Sunnyslope WSA, Churchill Water Co-op, Equity WSA, Gamble WSA, Grainger/Hesketh, Kirkpatrick WSA, Mt. Vernon Co-op and Selkirk WSA, for whatever volume is consumed. There is no extra charge for amounts over 100 m3, which at one point in previous discussions was being set at $9.00/m3. The $50 bi-monthly flat fee still applies to all current/future service connections. Bulk water stations are $5 per cubic meter for usage of 0-50 cubic meters monthly. Over that 50 cubic meter amount, the excess amount (only) will be charged at $9 per cubic metre. Electrical Permit Fees were also revised, especially as it relates to those contractor permits that exceed $200,000 in materials and labour. Administration did a comparison with adjacent municipalities and discovered “that we (County) were significantly higher” with those permits. “The changes have been revised in this Master Rates Bylaw and propose as five dollars per additional $1000 in additional installation cost above $20,000 (as opposed to the current $10). A new Class 1 Development Permit for Portable Storage Containers has also been added. A reduction in revenue from first 2019 Interim Budget Draft is approximately $212,000 (net).” The bylaw passed with one Councillor opposed.

Councillor Remuneration

A review of remuneration for Councilors was undertaken due to the changes in taxation for elected officials effective Jan 1, 2019. All income will be fully taxable come 2019. At a Committee of the Whole meeting held on Dec 4, 2018 Clr. King made the recommendation to amend the Council per diem/salary and that Councillors be paid a base salary and there be no meeting per diems. The base salary will differ between the Reeve, the Deputy Reeve and other Councilors. A motion to amend Council salary to the 70th percentile, plus adjustment for (Canada Revenue Agency) was approved, with one Councillor opposed. On page 63 of the County agenda package, this 70 percentile would indicate that the Reeve’s base salary (adjusted) would be $72,271, the Deputy Reeve’s would be $55,555 and the remaining Councilors would make $52,028.

Support for Resolution on Compost Facilities

Council moved to support Wheatland County as they present their Update of the Provincial Code of Practice for Compost Facilities Resolution at the February 1, 2019 Central Zone RMA meeting, and Spring Rural Municipalities of Alberta Convention in March 2019. Reeve Wittstock voiced his full support of this resolution. The Rural Municipalities of Alberta request the Province of Alberta to update the Code of Practice for Compost Facilities to reflect at minimum the Standards for Composting Facilities. The jurisdiction to regulate compost facilities lies with Alberta Environment and Parks under the authority of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Waste Control Regulation, and Code of Practice for Compost Facilities (code). The current Code of Practice for such facilities was adopted in 1997 with the intention to review it every five years beginning in 2001. It was noted that through this resolution, Wheatland County wishes to highlight the importance of the work that was done to update the Code of Practice and return priority to the project so that it may be completed.

There had been a recent case of conflict between County residents and a compost facility, which began operation in 1997, when it was determined that a development permit was not required due to its agricultural nature. The facility evolved and in recent years complaints were about intense odours, nuisances like flies and seagulls, to name a few. “While Alberta Environment and Parks is doing what they can according to the Code,” wrote Wheatland County, “we are disappointed that the content of the Standards cannot be enforced. Wheatland County believes that the additional requirements included in the Standard are an improvement that would increase our confidence in AE and Parks’ ability to both resolve concerns in cases like this, and proactively prevent similar cases from occurring in the future.”

Kneehill/Trochu Negotiation Committee

County Council members to sit on the Trochu Negotiation Committee (Inter-Municipal Development Plans) include: Jerry Wittstock, Faye McGhee, Wade Christie, and Kenneth King.

Committee of the Whole Meeting Date Change

County Staff are to bring the draft Horseshoe Canyon Masterplan for review and have the consultants present the plan to Council. However, since the consultants are not available for the planned Feb 5, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting, the meeting will instead be planned for Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at the conclusion of the regular Council meeting.

Committee of the Whole Minutes

The October 15, 2018 Committee of the Whole Minutes show a closed session to discuss a personnel matter, with Al Hoggan, CAO in attendance to provide a report and advise. This lasted almost an hour from 8:33 a.m. to 9:29 a.m. Fire Strategy was discussed. Clr. Penner made a recommendation “to direct administration to schedule meetings with our urban council’s one on one, discussing the best possible fire service available to our residents and to ensure our rural residents are protected, and discuss the concerns that our urban partners have with fire,” to be completed by January 1, 2019. This was carried unanimously. Clr. King made a recommendation to Council “that we write to the Councils of the towns and villages, suggesting that we meet Council to Council so we can outline for them our vision of rural fire.” This was carried. What followed was another closed session to discuss privileged information. Included in the closed session was the CAO Hoggan, Debra Grosfield, Manager of Protective Services, Dan Ross, Fire Chief, Laurie Watt, Director of Municipal Services, and Carolyn Van der Kuil, Executive Assistant. This closed session went from 12:49 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. The COW meeting then adjourned at 2:21 p.m.