Trochu seeks support for Seniors Facility

Kneehill Logo 2019

Kneehill County held their regular Council meeting October 8, 2019.

Policing Services Funding
As part of the Province’s consultation process in regard to policing costs, Council moved to direct Administration to send a response letter indicating Council’s concerns with the police funding proposal for Alberta. Alberta’s draft proposal includes 291 municipalities who are not currently paying for policing, to begin paying a percentage of frontline policing costs. Said the CAO, “In 2018-2019 the cost of front line policing was $232.5 Million.” He explained that the proposed formula would allow the province to recover between 15% and 70% of policing costs based on equalized assessment and per capita. “This (percentage difference) is a big gap. They don’t know. There doesn’t appear to be any indication that services would even change; only talk about front line policing. This could see Kneehill County paying $238,000 to $1.1 million per year at a maintained level of service.” The County’s concerns: ‘equalized assessment should be less of a factor in the model, as this is a service based on the needs of people”, “the County currently contributes to policing by employing Peace Officers who have the ability to enforce the Traffic Safety Act on most provincial highways”, “RCMP rarely enforce Municipal Bylaws and so how does this improve our service to our residents?”, and “this affects the communities in our area who also currently do not pay for policing services”. Said Clr. King, “We’re not getting our share of policing. I live on a paved road and rarely see a police car. It’s incumbent on us to push back on this.” On the County’s website there is a provincial survey that residents can fill out.

Community Grant Applications - PBI and Hillside Lanes Bowling
Council ‘received for information’ an application from Prairie Bible Institute to the County’s ‘Community Grants to Non-profit Organizations’ in the amount of $8,260. Due to the amount being over $5000, the applicant, Nathan Rooke made the presentation at today’s Oct 8 council meeting at 9:00 a.m. The application is for an on campus recycling program. The total cost is about $34,000 but would be separated into two phases, with the first phase to set up bins in dorms. These will be ‘mixed’ recycling and the College would be contracting to have the recyclables picked up and sorted elsewhere. Council will review the application at the Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for Oct. 15, 2019.
Deb Watson of Hillside Lanes Bowling Society applied for an amount of $19,033 and met with Council at 9:15 a.m. to explain the application and answer all questions. The need for funds is to update a 25-year old software program for scoring. The current program struggles to score accurately and underwent a temporary fix which won’t last for long. Ms. Watson is asking for a 1/3rd cost split between Kneehill County, the Town of Three Hills and the Bowling Society. It has nine leagues and a couple more for children’s bowling.

Trochu Seeks Support for Seniors Facility
Council will review a request from the Town of Trochu seeking to partner with the County on the construction of the Trochu Seniors Supportive Living Facility Project and to consider a meeting between the Town of Trochu and the County, to take place in October. Administration advises County Council to seek further information and clarity and explore the legal and other ramifications of such a venture before rendering a final decision. A formal presentation was made to Council for the Seniors Housing Project concept on March 12, 2019. It was noted that the Town’s business case would benefit greatly with the County’s partnering, to seek capital grant funding. “Our request is your support and partnership in our community-driven Seniors Housing Project in order to keep the momentum and have our business case ready for capital grant applications,” wrote the Mayor. The Town seeks a letter supporting the project and to back the Town of Trochu in the borrowing of up to $25 million, required to construct the capital project. In the Trochu letter it was written, “After the use of all capital grants, then the take out financing of up to $17 million to be repaid through operations.” The estimated cost for this project is $32 million and will have 80 units comprised of 24 independent life lease, 16 lodge and 40 SL4/4D units. Administration advised County Council that this would have an impact on the County’s ability to borrow and service other initiatives.

Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative
Pursuant to section 347 of the MGA, for all properties identified by the Province in a qualifying-list as outlined to the County, Council authorized the cancellation and/or refund of the 2019 property taxes paid or owing so as to reduce by 35% property taxes levied as per section 353(2) of the Municipal Government Act. Bill McKennan, Director of Corporate Services explained “The Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative provides support to shallow gas producers to mitigate this outdated assessment model, which is expected to be updated for the 2020 tax year. In the interim, the government is taking immediate steps to reduce 2019 taxes for shallow gas wells and pipelines. This program will provide immediate relief to shallow gas producers by crediting 35% of the 2019 property taxes levied on qualifying properties.”
He further explained, “The assessment model used by the County to set tax rates for linear properties such as well and pipelines is determined by the province. The model has not been updated since 2005.” The province will refund the County and there should be no impact to the current year budget. The County can apply as well for the Provincial Education requisition Credit if applicable and must submit documentation on or before October 21, 2019. It was noted that the County has already received a portion of the refund from the province ($1,119,611.00) with the balance to be received on Dec. 31, 2019. The total credit is listed as $2,326,446.44.

Municipal Planning Commission
The MPC meeting for October 24, 2019 has been cancelled. As only one application had been received by the Commission for this October date, the applicant agreed to move the case to the Nov. 28, 2019 meeting.

KRFCSS Increases Requisition
Council approved the Kneehill Regional Family and Community Support Services 2020 Budget and Allocations, as presented. The FCSS Board approved at their Sept 10, 2019 meeting to increase the municipal requisition by 1.4%, to cover the cost of living increase in 2020. The County’s 2019 contribution was $47,388 and will be $48,052 in 2020.

Linden East Microsurface Project
At the May 28, 2019 Council meeting, it was noted that the approved project budget for the Linden East Microsurface was $925,000 and the qualified tender came in at $948,497. Council approved the extra cost to be covered from the Swalwell Surfacing Project (estimated to be under budget). However, the Linden East project required additional material for sub grade failures, along with extra material around the CN rail tracks crossing. The additional costs amount to $64,744.30. Brad Buchert, Sr. Manager of Transportation advised Council that quantities for such projects are estimated and not engineered (to reduce costs). “The Savings realized by this process far out weigh any potential costs overages for quantities.” Council approved the motion to fund the Linden East project deficit by transferring $64,744.30 from the Swalwell Project surplus.

Village of Linden & Kneehill IDP
Council moved second and third reading of Bylaw 1801 to adopt the Village of Linden/Kneehill County Intermunicipal Development Plan. The public hearing was held on Oct. 8, 2019. Linden’s public hearing is scheduled for October 15, 2019.

Horseshoe Canyon Parking Lot
Bowen Clausen, Manager of Parks and Ag Services presented Council with a report on the Horseshoe Canyon parking lot. It was received as information. Paving the parking lot in 2010, the lot was sloped to drain towards the NE corner near the lookout into a catchment. This fed a large drainage pipe running down to the Canyon floor. In that moment in time, the east slope along this lot was opened and graded and all vegetation removed. “Almost immediately,” said Bowen, the water began to undercut the catchment and sluffing began to occur. It’s nine years later, the vegetation has not recovered and we’re experiencing the erosion.” It only got worse over the next few years. Regrading, landscaping and revegetation were completed after purchasing the site in 2016. Then came some extreme weather and significantly more sluffing, threatening infrastructure and public safety. “It is estimated that the area of parking causing this impact during a 1 hr., 25 mm (1 inch) rain event can shed upwards of 19,000 L of water.” Working with Transportation, Bowen’s crew will regrade and reshape the area during winter closure, late October weather permitting. “This will involve stepping the area where the slides are occurring, stripping part of the parking lot, building this up and vegetating the site.” Mr. Clausen confirmed that they would be working within their budget for the 21-30 days of work.
Mr. Clausen also brought forward an amended Commemorative Bench Policy 12-3, which Council approved.