Options For Public Participation Sought In Election Of Mayor

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Mayor Ray Wildeman called the regular Three Hills Town Council meeting of April 22, 2024, to order at 5:31 pm.

All members of Council were present.

The agenda of April 22, 2024, and the minutes of April 8, 2024, were accepted as presented.

The Delegation of Skye Williams and Luke Capton presented information on Central Alberta Youth Unlimited and their plans for a Three Hills Youth Centre. See next week’s issue for details on their report.

Management reports began with Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Leuzinger. Ryan dealt with various personnel items. He continued work with the Rural Renewal Stream. Apparently, the Province has made some changes to business eligibility as they have noticed a large amount of potential immigration fraud occurring through the program.

Reviews continue on assessment appeal, water conservation initiative, continued policy review and editing.

He researched the history of past Council’s decision to go from seven members of Council to five. He participated in discussions with Artis regarding wastewater effluent usage.

Ryan also provided support for Operations and Infrastructure while Grant was on holiday.

He is also reviewing garbage and recycling collection contracts and discussing options for renewal with the current contractor.

Ryan attended a long list of meetings including a Regional Healthcare meeting with Mayors, Reeve and CAOs. He also attended new pumphouse meetings, 1st Street Utility Replacement Project, Kneehill Housing and provided an update and overview of Town operations to Chamber of Commerce members.

Greg Towne, Director of Finance, reported on the transition to the new payroll services provider. The Town has changed benefit providers - now utilizing Sunlife through ABMunis.

Town financial statements will be delayed. Auditors are expected to present during the last meeting of May.

An additional electricity agreement with ABMunis has been signed to top up our electrical purchases with contracted pricing rather than spot market purchasing.

Interviews continue for the vacant Administrative Clerk position.

Review and reconciling 2024 Tax Assessments continue and will be incorporated into the 2024 Tax Rate Bylaw.

Other items include provincial grant reporting, GST remittance, various legal and insurance items and he attended a pop-up Emergency Management Exercise.

Kristy Sidock, Director of Community Services reported there has been one building permit issued since the March report. To date, the town has sold two of the Sunrise Estate lots and has four conditionally sold.

In March Three Hills Fire and Rescue responded to a total of 14 calls. Of those 14, 11 were medical assists, two were alarms and one was a structure fire.

The department received a $3,000 donation from Ember Resources. The tentative delivery date of the new fire truck is mid to the end of June.

Arena ice went out on April 2, 2024. Three Hills has been approved for a Community Facility Enhancement Program small grant. The grant is allocated for the replacement of the Kinsmen playground. Town staff will collaborate with the Three Hills Elks on this project.

Summer tree planting will involve 61 trees to be planted at the Cemetery, Anderson Park, Campground and throughout town.

The Aquatic Centre has been busy with lessons. The Rob Naylor Splash Park cleaning has commenced.

Grant Gyurkovitz, Director of Operations and Infrastructure reported on maintenance items at the Water Treatment Plant.

Hydrant spring maintenance has begun. Sewer flushing began on April 29 as well as manhole inspections and flushing. Water will be turned on at the Campground.

Street sweeping has started, assisted with ice removal in the arena, along with training parks personnel on safe skid steer operation and how to fill potholes correctly for pathway repair.

The anticipated completion of the new Water Pump House is July/August 2024.

A landfill cell expansion design brief was submitted to the Town on April 15. The current cell air space should have room until mid-2025.

The 1st Street Utility Replacement project commenced on April 15 at the Trailer Court.

If the weather cooperates the project could be done by early June followed by concrete, asphalt and landscaping. The second lift of asphalt will be completed next year to allow for settling.

Business arising out of the minutes/old business included a Request For Decision - RFD-24-034 - Council approved increasing the budget to $3,200,000 for the Residual Management Facility Project, to be funded from the Water Capital Reserve ($75,000), Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater program ($1,216,220) and self-supported debt ($1,909,780). This was a recorded vote with Mayor Ray Wildeman, Clr Dennis Hazelton and Clr Marilyn Sept voting in favour. Deputy Mayor Byrne Lammle and Clr Miriam Kirk voted against - motion carried.

Next up was the decision concerning the number of Councilors and selection of Mayor processes.

Council asked Administration for additional information on moving Council back to seven members from five and selecting the Mayor from within Council as opposed to electing a Mayor by the community electors. Mayor Wildeman moved that the Mayor’s position remain as elected by the people. In a recorded vote the motion was defeated with Mayor Wildeman and Clr Marilyn Sept voting in favor and Deputy Mayor Byrne Lammle, Clr Miriam Kirk and Clr Dennis Hazelton voting against - motion defeated.

Clr Kirk moved that Administration bring back, by the May 27, 2024 Regular Meeting of Council, options for a public process to assist with determining methods to elect a Mayor - carried.

Under Bylaws - Item 7.1 on the agenda dealt with the 2024 Tax Rate Bylaw. That Bylaw 1496-24 the 2024 Tax Rate Bylaw was given first, second, third and third and final reading being passed unanimously by Council.

Tax notices will be sent out to residents on May 24 (plus or minus a day). For full details on 1496-24-2024 Tax Rate Bylaw see the April 22, 2024 meeting agenda - Item 7.1, click on Request for Decision on the Town of Three Hills website.

Under New Business - 8.1 - Council dealt with Policy 900 - Municipally owned and reserved land held for sale or lease.

With the recent price reduction of Sunrise Estate lots, the Town has received several inquiries from individuals interested in purchasing contiguous lots. They have stated they intend to either construct a home spanning the common property line or build a home on one lot while utilizing the second lot for an expanded yard.

These lots have all been serviced by the Town of Three Hills in anticipation of a house being built on each lot.

Council directed administration to not allow individuals to purchase contiguous municipally owned residential lots for consolidation - carried.

The remainder of the agenda was carried over to the next Regular Meeting of Council on May 13, 1024.

Mayor Ray Wildeman adjourned the Regular Council Meeting of April 22, 2024 at 8:59 pm.