Trochu Town Council Report

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The first meeting of 2022 of the Trochu Town Council was held on January 10th at 6:00pm at the Town Office. In attendance was Mayor Barry Kletke, Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham, Councillors Chris Armstrong, Jaime Martel, and Chris Reeds, along with CAO Carl Peterson, Director of Operations Dave Nelson, and Recording Secretary Toni Nelson. Councillor Candidates Kelly Bigelow and Gerry Proudfoot sat in on the meeting to observe. Councillor Jenny Lyver was away and not able to attend the meeting.

At the start of the meeting, Council recognized two Town employees who have each served the Town for 10 years. Kimberley Helmer, an Admin Clerk III, and Catlin Hewey, Public Works Coordinator, will be recognized with a certificate, Trochu gold pin, and a cheque for $100.

Council accepted the agenda, previous meeting minutes, and Housekeeping list.

Council and Administration presented their reports. Council approved the Grantwriter’s Report, after asking that a list of declined grants be added to the report for information.

Director of Operations Dave Nelson presented his report for the month of December. Because there was such cold and snowy weather in December, much of the work done was clearing roads, trails, and sidewalks, spreading sand and salt and moving snow. Christmas decorations will come down on January 18th, as this is the soonest ATCO could send a crew down.

There is ongoing maintenance at the arena, but the hot water tank they had wanted to purchase was instead sent to an apartment building that needed it more urgently. Another tank has been ordered with no estimated time of arrival, but the Town is the next on the list.

At the Lagoon, there were some improvements made to the drainage system. The engineer and construction company have given it their approval, but they are now waiting on the neighbouring land owner to ensure it has his approval as well.

12 Trochu Meadows has been purchased, and the Town placed cameras into the sewer so the landowner would know where to dig-in piles. He does not plan to dig piles as deep as the sewer lines so no concerns are expected. This work will proceed as allowed by the weather and ATCO’s service schedule.

Town employee Cole McCarty has passed his three water and wastewater certificates that are required by the Alberta Government, so he is now a fully-certified Water Wastewater Operator.

Nelson also reported that several of his Operations staff have contracted Covid-19 and are therefore isolating for the length of time AHS stipulates. This is the first time any Operations staff have contracted Covid in these last two years.

Nelson was encouraged by the increased ice time usage over the Christmas season, and noted that all KMHA tournaments are slated to take place in Trochu. Council filed the Director of Operations report with all in favour.

Council approved the Water and Wastewater report, which did not need discussion.

CAO Carl Peterson presented his report. He attended a Senior’s Housing meeting; they are still waiting for grants to be announced. The Kneehill Regional Emergency Management Agency has cancelled all in-person table top exercises, as well as all in-person courses which new councilors are mandated to participate in. No new dates for either have been chosen.

Four candidates have stepped forward for the 2022 Trochu Councilor By-Election. Candidates include Gerard Proudfoot, Cerilo De La Cruz, Spandy Andy Rimer, and Kelly Bigelow. The election will take place on January 20th.

Peterson is finalizing the fire services bylaw which will be sent to the Trochu Fire Department prior to the bylaw being brought to Council. Fire Chief Richard Hoppins is planning to present a year-end report to Council in the coming weeks.

Councillors then presented their reports.

In December, Councilor Chris Armstrong attended the Grade 7 social studies class. The students were told to come up with their own ideas for a make-believe development of a grassy area of town. Armstrong notes that he was impressed with the imagination and ideas of the students, which included a giant-sized fairy garden. He enjoyed the time spent with them.

Armstrong attended a Community Futures Wildrose meeting where they moved their operating plan and budget for 2022 and 2023. Strategic goals for the group include increasing visibility, promoting economic recovery and coaching through Covid, and connectivity and relationship building with businesses in the region. Their fiscal year ends on April 31 and they have $2M to loan to businesses before then. Information about Community Futures Wildrose will be distributed with Trochu’s water bills.

Lastly, Armstrong notes that he has joined the Alberta Municipalities safe and healthy communities committee. The first meeting is February 11th.

Councilor Jaime Martel attended a Library meeting at which the budget was discussed. The Library calendar project brought in $1,500. Although there were some issues with the printing of the calendars, this will be addressed and fixed next year. Martel also attended the Arboretum meeting. The Arboretum Board has purchased a tractor, are working on grant applications, and are coming up with ideas for a new entrance to the Arboretum.

Deputy Mayor Bill Cunningham attended a virtual Kneehill Housing meeting. The budget was discussed, including a decision for a 3% increase to frontline workers at the Golden Hills Lodge. Cunningham mentioned that the Trochu Valley Manor is being well-occupied, but renovations which were approved one year ago are still yet to be started. The Golden Hills Lodge still has many vacancies.

Cunningham asked Council whether they felt it was worth it for him to attend a free workshop with Alberta Tourism in Drumheller in February, since tourism groups Boomtown Trail and Canadian Badlands are no longer in operation. Council encouraged Cunningham to take part.

Lastly, Cunningham opened a discussion about getting the Doctor Hay House an historical designation. Council agreed that care should be given to the House, and that if a historic designation was possible, it would generate grant money to help with the upkeep of the building.

Mayor Barry Kletke mentioned that he had a conversation with Alberta Council, a legal and lobby group who had previously presented to Trochu Council. Kletke was hoping to find out how much Alberta Council would charge for their services, if they assisted with the Town’s strategic plan. He noted that he expected a proposal for January 17th’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Council filed the Council Reports.

Council had four items under Finance to discuss. The first was their December 2021 bank reconciliation and financial summary. Council noted that there is some money in the bank, even with some long-term debt. Peterson mentioned that he may ask Lavinia Henderson to add a column to future reports to show deferred revenue accounts to give a fuller report. He noted “We’ve made major headways on deferred revenues, heading in the right direction.” Council filed this report, with all in favour. The financial summary is on page 20 of the agenda package, found on the Town of Trochu’s Council webpage.

The second item was a request for support from the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance. The ask from the group is $0.50 per capita and Trochu has supported the group in the past, but not consistently. Council was not aware of the benefits of supporting the group, and directed Administration to find more information about the organization before Council makes their decision.

Council received a requisition from the Southern Alberta Energy from Waste Association for Trochu’s 2022 membership fee. Trochu has been part of this association for many years, and while SAEWA’s promised energy from waste facility has not yet come to fruition, the hope is that it will do so, and the cost to rejoin the group at a later time after letting membership lapse is steep. Council therefore decided to pay the membership fee for 2022, in the amount of $0.53 per capita, totaling $568.16 for Trochu.

The last item in Finance was a request from the Trochu Library for an increase in funding from the Town in the 2022 budget. The Library’s bills have increased, and fundraising opportunities seem to have decreased. The Town usually budgets and contributes $20,000 to the library, but they are asking for an additional $3,300; a 16.5% increase in funding. The Library received $5,000 in CERB payment in the past year, but realizes this is unsustainable.

Council was concerned that funding from the Town cannot be increased for every group or taxes would need to be raised. The Library was considering sending letters of request to companies in the area who may have room in their budgets to contribute. Council decided to wait on this decision, to see whether funding is available from other sources. This would be discussed again at the Committee of the Whole meeting on January 17th.

In New Business, Council saw a request for ice time donation for a day of 3-on-3 hockey for kids aged 7-11. Council unanimously supported this request.

Council entered Closed Session at 7:01pm. The next meeting of Trochu Town Council is scheduled for January 24th at 6:00pm.