Kneehill County Council report

Kneehill Logo 2019

Kneehill County held a regular meeting of council on Tuesday March 9, 2021, which was called to order at 8:30 a.m. by Reeve Jerry Wittstock.

The first item on Council agenda was item 4.1, 2020 Road Program Overview, presented by Brad Buchert, Director of Transportation.

In 2020 approximately 123,000 tonnes of gravel were applied to the roads.

In the overview, it is stated that the four workers apart of the shop staff are responsible for the maintenance and repairs for over 215 assets within various departments of the County such as, Utility, Environmental Services Transportation, Emergency Services, Agriculture and Parks. Kneehill County has overall 1900km of gravel roads, 82km of paved roadways, 500 km of dirt trails, and various streets within the five Hamlets to maintain with these assets.

Council received the 2020 Road Program Overview presentation for information.

The next item on the Councils agenda was item 6.1, Bylaw 1833, Borrowing Guarantee, presented by Bill McKennan, Director of Corporate Services.

As stated by the Municipal Government Act, Section 266, Council may only guarantee the repayment of a loan between a lender and a non-profit organization or one of its controlled corporations if the guarantee is authorized by bylaw.

Council approved supporting the development of the Trochu Seniors Supportive Living Facility Project in the Town of Trochu on the Feb. 9, 2021 Council meeting.

All of the conditions that were included in the motion of the approval in support by Council will be incorporated into this agreement.

The loan guarantee bylaw is conditional upon the Town of Trochu entering an agreement to the satisfaction of Kneehill County.

Council received Bylaw 1833 first reading, and that being a bylaw to authorize the guarantee of a loan by the Town of Trochu.

Next on the Council’s agenda was item 6.2, Tax Cancellation – Industrial Accounts, presented by McKennan.

The ability for the municipality to collect on tax arrears relating to industrial and linear tax accounts has become extremely difficult based on decisions of the Courts. Municipal collections are no longer a priority as legislation provided for in the past.

The accounts are for two wells purchased from Trident Exploration. The Court Order approving the purchase indicated that the new owners were responsible for the 2020 levies as prorated from the purchase date. The balance is required to be cancelled.

The amount of 2021 penalties that are to be reversed is approximately $411.74.

Council approved that the amount of $9,451.37 in property taxes be expensed and cancelled on rolls 32222331300 and 34231420400.

Council directed administration to submit an application under the Provincial Education Requisition Credit (PERC) for the uncollectable Education Requisition and the uncollectable Designated Industrial Property Requisition on these Oil & Gas Properties.

Council also directed administration to void any 2021 penalties currently attached to these rolls.

Next on the county’s agenda was item 6.3, 2021 Public Auction Tax Sale Date, presented by Bill McKennan.

Council must set a date for public auction for all properties with more than two years of tax arrears.

Advertising requirements must be met to ensure legislative compliance. Reserve bids will be set at a future meeting for those parcels that remain on the tax arrears list.

Council approves that the 2021 Tax Sale Public Auction be held on Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 2 p.m. in the County Administration Office.

Next item on the Councils agenda was item 7.1, Council Compensation and Expense Remuneration, presented by Laurie Watt, Acting CAO.

Council reviewed Kneehill County’s numerous Council compensation and expense reimbursement policies at the Jan. 26, 2021 Council meeting and reviewed the draft policy at the Feb. 23, 2021 Council meeting.

Administration combined the 13 policies into one overarching policy. The policies include: Policy 3-8, Automatically Approved Attendance (#4)

Policy 3-19, Reimbursement- Per Diem and Salary (#2-9, 11, 12)

Policy 3-19-1, Reimbursement- Mileage (#19, 20, 28)

Policy 3-19-2, Reimbursement- Meals (#21, 22, 23)

Policy 3-6, Convention Attendance/Overnight Allowance/Partner Program (#24, 29, 30, 31)

Policy 3-9, Electronic Devices (#32-36)

Policy 3-18, Communications Allowance (#37)

Policy 3-5, Committee Pay Differential (#15)

Policy 3-4, Committee Member/Alternate Attending Meetings (#10, 16)

Policy 3-15, Overnight Expenses (#25,26)

Policy 3-20, Group Health Plan and AD&D Insurance Coverage (#41-46) Policy 3-14-1, Meetings- With Ratepayers (#38-40)

Policy 3-24, Promotional Clothing and Goods Program (#47-49)

Policy 3-19-5, Rental of Vehicles

Council approved Policy #3-1, Council Compensation and Expense Remuneration, as presented with the amended salary and per diem rates to come in effect for the March 2021 timesheet and expense report.

Next on the Council’s agenda was item 8.1, Policy Review – Rescission, presented by Laurie Watt.

Policy #3-1, Council Compensation and Expense Remuneration combined 13 policies into one overarching policy. The previously stated policies are no longer required as they part of Policy #3-1.

Council approved that the previously said policies be rescinded.

Next on Council’s agenda was item 8.2, Council Appointees Reimbursement Policy, presented by Watt.

The Council Compensation and Expense Remuneration Policy combined 13 policies into one overarching policy. As a result of these policies being combined, the Council Appointees policy needed to be amended to include how members will be reimbursed for mileage, meals and convention allowance.

Administration also amended the statement pertaining to the annual per diem adjustment, so it coincides with Council’s Compensation and Expense Remuneration policy. Administration also requests that the number to this policy be changed from Policy #3-19-3 to Policy #3-3. With the rescission of the policies made earlier at the meeting the numbering sequence in this policy does not coincide with the others.

Council approved policy #3-19-3, Council Appointees Reimbursement Policy as presented, and to amend the policy number to Policy #3-3.

Next on the Councils agenda was item 8.3, Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) Spring Resolutions, presented by Watt.

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocates on behalf of rural municipalities in meeting with the government and ensures that provincial decisionmakers, as well as industry and other relevant stakeholders, understand and incorporate the best interests of rural Alberta in their policies.

Council received for information the 2021 Rural Municipalities of Alberta Spring Resolutions Listing.

Last on the Council’s agenda was item 8.4, Motion to Support 988 Crisis Hotline, presented by Watt.

Administration received a request from Damien C. Kurek, Member of Parliament for Battle River Crowfoot, for Council to pass a motion to endorse the proposed 988 crisis line.

Damien Kurek reported that the past year has been a challenging year and the mental health implications have been severe. Although there are supports available, they are not widely known, and they need to be.

In addition, they need to be accessible to everyone, not only to people in major cities and would like to see a national suicide prevention hotline established that consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into one easy to remember three-digit (988) hotline that is accessible to all Canadians.

The Federal government has passed a motion to adopt 988, a National three-digit suicide and crisis hotline. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for suicide prevention services by 200 per cent.

The existing suicide prevention hotlines require the user to remember a 10-digit number and go through directories or be placed on hold.

Kneehill County Council recognizes that it is a significant and important initiative to ensure critical barriers are removed to those in a crisis and seeking help.

Kneehill County Council endorses this 988 crisis line initiative and moved for the staff to send a letter indicating such support to the local MP, MLA, Federal Minister of Health, the CRTC to indicate our support.

Meeting adjourned, the next Kneehill Council Meeting will be held on March 23, 2021 at 8:30 am in the Council Chambers.