Council approves reserve transfer to leave tax rates unchanged in Eckville

Tax rates, subdivision rates, and a truck sale were among the items discussed by Council at the regular meeting in Eckville.

Town of Eckville

Tax Stabilization

Council approved a motion to amend the 2017 Town of Eckville Operating Budget “by transferring a further $5,650 from the tax stabilization reserve,” according to a request to Council provided by Town administration. This stabilization was necessary because the original budget was based on the best assessments at the time back in 2017.

Assessment levels were low due to changes in the school tax rate and the Lacombe Foundation tax rates, meaning an alteration was necessary to the original budget.

The transfer allows the 2017 taxation rate to remain the same in Eckville for 2017.

Subdivision Rates and Fees

Town Administration presented a motion to adopt similar rates to the Town of Three Hills except for the endorsement fee which was suggested to be lowered to $100. The presented rates were: $450 plus $200 per lot for subdivision standard application; $285 for separation of title and $100 for endorsement fee.

These estimates were based on administration researching rates in Three Hills, Spruce Grove, Calgary, Parkland Community Planning Services and Didsbury. Mayor Helen Posti felt that further research was necessary before Council approved this motion. Council requested that administration do some follow-up research on municipalities of similar sizes and bring this motion back at the next scheduled meeting.

Truck Sale

Administration requested permission from Council to sell the Town’s 1998 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck.

The vehicle was purchased new and still runs well, according to administration. Councillor Sandra Hallgren suggested the Town put the truck on Kjiji and Councillor Scott Kinley suggested the process would be expedited by auctioning the vehicle. Council approved the motion to put the vehicle up for auction in Red Deer.

Budget Approval

After Council approved the earlier tax stabilization, it became necessary to approve Property Tax Bylaw 738-17. Council gave all three readings to the new budget it passed unanimously

Municipal Breakfast

Council discussed the results of the 2017 Municipal Breakfast. All Council members noticed that was attendance was down this year with many visibly empty tables. Coun. Kinley noted that this event appeared to be busier when it was formerly held at the Community Centre.

The event originally switched over due to the convenience of hosting Bullarena and the breakfast at the same location. Mayor Helen Posti said the entrance to the arena would be a better place to have people seated for the breakfast. Council will discuss possible changes for next year at a later date.

Traffic Bylaw

Council has been going through Town Bylaws in order to ensure that the laws are in agreement with the Municipal Government Act. At this meeting Council chose to go over the Traffic Bylaw.

Coun. Kinley suggested that the dates for RV parking in Town need to be permanently extended in the bylaw because Council has been extending it every year through October 15.

Coun. Hallgren expressed some concern with children running in between parked RVs. Council agreed that one of the perks of living in a smaller community is being able to park their RV.

Council suggested that rather than permanently change the dates, they could write in the bylaw permission to change the dates with discretion, and based on need. One issue with RV parking is that many people are parking them facing the wrong way on the street. Administration suggested an inches from the curb amount be included in the bylaw in order to prevent this. Council all agreed that enforcement of bylaws is necessary in order to ensure compliance.

Snow plowing is also an issue within the traffic bylaw, with Administration suggesting that having four lists of priority streets is too many for Town the size of Eckville. Coun. Kinley said the new equipment owned by the Town could be a real asset in attracting residents when it comes to snow plowing.

Council suggested that the bylaw include one priority, with all other streets being plowed on a rotating basis.

MSI Extension

A letter was sent to Mayor Helen Posti from the Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson informing the Town of Eckville that the Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding program will be extended for another two years.

The letter states that the Government of Alberta will “talk about the future of the program and ways we can support priority infrastructure in Alberta’s communities.”

Coun. Kinley pointed out this extension will end right around the time of the next provincial election

todd.vaughan@sylvanlakenews.com

 

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