Town of Three Hills Council report

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Mayor Ray Wildeman called the February 28 Regular Meeting of the Three Hills Town Council to order at 5:30 PM. All Council members were present in person. The agenda was accepted as presented.

The minutes of the February 14 Special Meeting of Council and the Regular Meeting of Council were accepted as presented.

Two Delegations were on the agenda.

Michelle Toombs, CEO of the Marigold Library System was scheduled for a 10-minute presentation. Her informative and encouraging report, with a short video and then charts showing numerous aspects of the Marigold Library System and its relationship to the Three Hills Library went from 5:33 PM to 6:05.

The second Delegation, Sgt. Jamie Day and Constable Yolanda Bouzane, of the Three Hills RCMP Detachment were scheduled for 15 minutes on the agenda, but the presentation/request for Council’s suggested “priorities”, or Annual Performance Plan, (APP) followed by Questions and moving on to forming what would be brought forth as a motion, took from 6:07 to 7:06. Sgt. Day, in reviewing the 4 points given as Priorities in the 2021 APP noted that number one “Rural Crime” has shown a 66 % drop over the past year. (Personal Crime has increased.) The second and third items, “Presence in the Community”, and “Road Safety”, has been noticeably improved and highly commended. The fourth priority has been the Active Staff Reports. These are the popular tracking of calls and services which are published regularly in The Capital. Council affirmed these same priorities with an understanding that under Presence in the Community the involvement in the schools, on the streets, and in the issuing of warnings and tickets where applicable under Road Safety were part of the same reality.

Council was very pleased to hear Sgt. Day declare, that based on his experience in former localities and knowing stats from other communities he could confidently say: “Three Hills is one of the safest communities in Alberta.”

Both he and Cst. Bouzane are pleased to be raising their children in Three Hills. Cst. Bouzane’s children will be joining her when their school year finishes in Lloydminster.

Management Reports from the Chief Administrative Officer, the Director of Finance, Director of Community Services and the Director of Operations and Infrastructure were presented to Council as provided in the “Agenda Package” available on the Three Hills Website. Each manager gave a few highlights but for the most part, there was not a whole lot of ‘extra’ going on apart from work on the budget. The Council Resolution Status under the CAO’s report shows in table form projects completed, delayed or a projected date for completion.

New Business included the “Approval of the 2022 Operating and Capital Budget.”

In stark terms the motions passed are as follows:

“...that the 2022 Operating Budget with Total Expenditures of $9,737,900 resulting in a Tax Levy of $3,376,980 as shown in Table 1 be approved.”

“...that the 2022 Capital Budget with Total Costs and Funding of $1,585,350 as shown in Table 2 be approved.”

The 7 page presentation with background information as presented to Council is likewise available on the Town of Three Hills Web site, and is a result of the proposed budget distributed earlier in a “Budget Book” and the resultant feedback from ratepayers and Council members. An updated version will be made available in approximately 2 weeks.

Covid and Provincial Funding reductions and the Water Treatment Plant expenses contributed to some serious adjustments to the budget. An observation is that if the present budget were being formulated in just the past two weeks and what could possibly develop globally in the near future, there is no doubt it would present a different picture.

The information of most interest to the Three Hills resident/ ratepayer is probably found in these closing paragraphs of the “Request for Decision” document:

“Cautiously assuming that 40% of the $88,320 in tax revenue increases will be picked up by assessment growth, that means that approximately $53,000 will need to be levied against existing properties. Based on this, preliminary estimates show that although tax revenues need to increase 2.7%, only 1.6% will be borne by existing property stock. Staff are fairly comfortable in saying that a typical ratepayer, on average, would see a year-to-year tax bill increase of 2.0% or less. Properties that had assessment ‘growth’ changes – improvements, sales valuation adjustments, appraisal/assessment updates, etc. – would see changes that match changes to their specific assessments. For a house assessed at our median value of $225,000 this would result in an annual tax bill increase of $44 (from $2,201 to $2,245) or $3.63 per month, on Town taxes.

Council will see the Tax Rate Bylaw with this information in April 2022.”

Council Reports were presented next. These were oral and did not include written submissions.

Councillor Dennis Hazelton said he had “little to report” but “not nothing”.

Deputy Mayor Miriam Kirk mentioned three meetings and gave a good summary of each. Both she and Councillor Byrne Lammle attended a meeting with Member of Parliament Damien Kurek.

Deputy Mayor Kirk attended a meeting of the Dr. Recruitment and Retention Task Force and discussed a wide range of concerns. She also attended the AMU meeting via Zoom where the subject was about “Budget”.

Councillor Byrne Lammle attended the meeting with MP Kurek as mentioned above. He also attended another meeting with SAEWA via Zoom, and mentioned upcoming meetings with the Chamber of Commerce.

Councillor Marilyn Sept attended to cheque signing duties under the Kneehill Housing.

Mayor Ray Wildeman gave glowing reports per the Town of Three Hills Family Day Fireworks and Hot Dog night, and then of the opportunity he had in accepting the invitation of MLA Nathan Cooper to attend the Throne Speech at the Edmonton Legislature on Feb. 22.

Two items were Accepted as presented. These were from the National Police Federation. It was their impression of the Government of Alberta Provincial Police Transition report.

The second item was from the Community Futures Wild Rose document “Mastering Your Recovery Outcomes.”

Mayor Wildeman declared that Council would be moving into a closed session at 8:31 PM.

Two Items under FOIPP was on the agenda. From Section 25- Economic Interests of the Municipality-Ice Arena Usage Update, and from Section 24- Advice from Officials- Drainage Review.