Benedict Family to receive 2020 BMO Farm Family Award

Kneehill Logo 2019

Kneehill County Council held their regular meeting Dec. 10, 2019.

Benedict Family to receive 2020 BMO Farm Family Award

Council’s nomination for the 2020 BMO Calgary Stampede Farm Family Award is the Benedict farm family of Trochu - Alex and Sharon, and Derek & Lois. This family was recommended by the Agricultural Service Board, at their Nov. 18 board meeting. County Council approved Clr. Chrisitie to attend the Award Presentation event.

Planning

Council moved to accept the proposed Quality Management Plan for Safety Codes. The county obtained Safety Codes Accreditation in January of 2002 with continued accreditation requiring a Quality Management Plan to be reviewed regularly. The contract for Safety Codes expires May 31, 2020 and a QMP must be updated prior to tendering out the contract. Noted Barb Hazelton, Manager of Planning, “The Planning Department is tentatively planning to have the Safety Codes Request for Proposal out for tender by the end of January 2020.” Ms. Hazelton also advised that the Fire discipline is not included in the QMP, as Fire has its own. Council was also advised that the County was audited last year on all the disciplines. There was some discussion on how to resolve issues of inspectors not always being able to inspect private sewage because they can’t get there in time and if they can’t get there, they don’t see it and therefore it stays on the record as ‘non-compliance’. All that can be done is to notify the inspector as soon as possible.

Tax Sale Public Auction Results

After the annual Tax Sale Public auction, the County had four properties that remained unsold. Therefore, it was the recommendation of Administration for two of the properties to be transferred to the County to be dealt with internally. Council approved the purchase of an old road allowance containing 2.24 acres (at Township 31, Range 26, W4) for $1. Council also approved the purchase ($1) of what is known as Finn Hall site (NE 20-32-23-W4), which contains 1 acre. A third property will be listed with local real estate to sell 11.61 acres (Plan 00124861). The fourth property had an offer made to purchase after the tax sale date for a vacant residential lot in Sunnyslope. Council approved the offer of $800 (which covers tax arrears and administration fees currently owing), though it is conditional on the purchaser paying GST and all transfer costs, and the parcel be consolidated with Plan 4761EH. The party making the offer was intended to receive the parcel in 1992 but a Transfer of Land was never registered and the purchasers had paid the taxes from 1992 to 2015.

2020 Interim Budget

Council gave approval to the 2020 Interim Operating Budget as well as the 2020 Capital Expenditures - Prior Approvals and Funding Sources. Council was advised that these capital expenditure projects that administration is recommending for prior approval (which require significant upfront work such as specification development and procurement measures) need prior approval to ensure the best prices that can be secured in the market. A comparison of the 2019 budget had total County revenues of $27,924,322 and the 2020 Interim budget shows $13,962,162. Under County expenses the 2019 budget showed $18,677,310 while the 2020 interim budget shows $9,338,655.

A motion was also approved to close the Urban Sustainability Reserve and its balance of $1,268,392 be transferred to the Gravel Reserve. At a Committee of the Whole meeting held on Dec. 3, 2019, it was noted there were no outstanding commitments earmarked to be funded from the Urban Sustainability Reserve while there are significant and specific gravel expenditures planned for 2020.

Designated Mobile Homes Public Auction

The tax sale date for Designated Mobile Homes with tax arrears was approved for Feb 3, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. The County currently has two mobiles that reside in the Torrington Mobile Home Park. An opinion of value provided by the County Assessor places the reserve bids at $16,500 for one home and $8,500 for the other. The reserve bid is the lowest the home can be sold for, the purchaser takes possession ‘as is’, purchaser pays all transfer costs and GST and the full price must be paid by end of business day, Feb 3, 2020.

Canadian Badlands Letter of Support

Council approved a motion to provide a letter of support to the Canadian Badlands Ltd, as they lobby the government for continued funding. The organization works on behalf of small communities who do not have the funding or budgets for marketing and promoting Canadian Badlands Tourism. The budget has recently been cut to a number of areas and services that are vital to the organization’s well being. They are asking for all 60 of its community members to write a letter of support. Said Deputy Reeve McGhee, “I strongly believe this group is doing a great job.”

December MPC Cancelled

Council approved the cancellation of the Dec 19, 2019 Municipal Planning Commission meeting. Of note, the one and only application to be considered for the December date agreed to move the application forward to the January 30, 2020 meeting.

Policy Reviews

Council approved the Human Resource Policy, with the recommended changes to ensure alignment with legislative and legal updates. For example, some legislative changes allowed the County to reconsider the pros of Banked Overtime. The motion to approve was carried with one opposed.

Council, as part of its continual review of policies, made amendments to Policy #15-3, Community Grants to Non-Profit Organizations at two previous Committee of the Whole meetings and today approved the policy as amended. This can be reviewed on their web site. A couple of amendments are that “if the application does not meet eligibility, Council does not want to see the application’, and ‘no funding to Provincial/Federal organizations such as healthcare, libraries and such’. Religious organizations may be considered if the funding they are seeking is for non-denomination initiates that are open to the community at large.

Policy #15-10, Youth Sponsorship was approved with amendments: lowering the team sponsorship to $500 and lowering the Individual International Program to $300.

Policy #15-7, Recreation, Community, Arts & Cultural Events was approved with only a minor reference removed.

Policy #15-5, Kneehill County Scholarship Program was approved with a few changes to criteria. The two scholarships are to be selected based upon 20% Academic Achievement, 60% written essay, 20% letters of reference (under three). The essay topic will change each program year, as chosen by the CAO.

Policy #15-13, Rural Community Halls was approved with a change that requires the accountability form to be filled out annually.

Policy #15-1, 100 Year Farm and Ranch Award was approved with the one change being that eligibility requires the applicant to have received the Alberta Century Farm Award first.

ICF with Red Deer Approved

Council gave first reading to Bylaw 1809, for the adoption of the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework with Red Deer County, followed by full approval with three readings. Both Councils have completed the process and both have approved it. Administration is confident it also complies with the new changes proposed recently with Bill 25 - Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act.

County Discusses

Participation at FCM Convention

Clr. Hugo made the request that Council review its participation in FCM and its his desire that Kneehill County cease its participation. FCM - Federation of Canadian Municipalities holds an annual convention with the intent to offer training sessions, networking and to determine lobby initiatives. It usually attracts leaders of major parties speaking. The conference location changes around the country. Since 2011 it was held in NS twice, Quebec City in 2019 (and Montreal for 2021), Ontario twice (and Toronto for 2020), Saskatchewan in 2012 and for 2022, Manitoba once (2016), Alberta once (2015), and BC once (2013). Numbers provided by FCM show that in 2019 there were 2087 delegates, of which 473 were from Alberta. The cost of attendance (depending on location and number of attendees) shows that in 2018, the cost to the County was $39,908.07 and in 2019 $25,457.61, which includes in some cases the Councilor’s partner, and the annual membership fee of $1100 (whether or not anyone attends). All around the table, Councilors voiced support for the organization and the conference, stating that the venue often gives western provinces a venue to fairly voice issues, the ability to share knowledge and learn, to become informed of factors/issues/decisions coming down federally, to interact with other councilors/provinces for ideas and current information to sometimes see the bigger picture. As noted by Reeve Wittstock, “It’s a way to stay informed and get that ‘heads up’. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

With a policy in place, no motion was made other than to table further discussion to the January 14, 2020 Council meeting and allow Administration to bring the policy forward at that time.

Drumheller & Distrit Solid Waste Management Association

An add on to the County’s agenda was the costly issue of emergency replacements and repair for seven ‘transtor’ bins at the transfer locations (including within this County - Linden, Carbon, and Three Hills). Even with the idea of moving one from Carbon to Linden, it is still a costly venture and DDSWMA asked that members look at the options for paying for these bins. Consideration is also being given to raising the requisition to allow for more dollars in reserves for future repairs and replacements that are imminent. Option 1 was a 10-year borrowing, while another option was for a two-year borrowing plan. Many of the smaller communities would be hard-pressed to afford a two-year plan. With this in mind, County Council moved to pay their share in a lump sum payment (that would help lower the borrowing cost for others), if this is acceptable to the Association. Otherwise their priority would be the two-year plan.