Information from Drumheller Town Council Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, February 14 (continued)
The Committee was presented with a Strategic Priorities briefing update by the various Town departments.
CAO Darryl Drohomerski shared the Drumheller and District Solid Waste Association (DDSWA) board discovered an unfair imbalance with commercial garbage collection in Drumheller. Each of the 15 member municipalities pays a requisition based on population, however, Drumheller’s commercial garbage collection equates to about 50 per cent of total garbage tonnage and was being subsidized by residential customers.
DDSWA passed a motion in December 2021 to begin charging fees missed on commercial garbage and has been working with a collector to implement a fee system for these customers. Letters went out to commercial customers, and this change will take effect April 1.
Director of Corporate Finance Maurico Reyes provided an update on the Utility Rate Model terms of reference. This has been drafted, and a Request for Proposal is expected in April; it helps calculate utility revenues between 2023 and 2027 and will assist with reserve planning and budgeting purposes.
Human Resources manager Val Lefin provided an update on the Salary Survey. The department is focusing on developing 30 unique jobs and are looking at rural municipalities closer to a larger centre, similar to Drumheller. The survey will provide information about current recruitment challenges and help with negotiations later in the year.
Manager of Recreation, Arts and Culture Darren Goldthorpe provided an update on the Recreation Membership Program and marketing. The new membership model was brought before council in December 2021 and was rolled out in January 2022; it has been promoted through social media, print and radio releases, staff engagement, utility bill inserts, and some 2,700 postcards will be mailed out soon.
Mr. Goldthorpe also gave an update on the Badlands Community Facility (BCF) banquet hall. With COVID restrictions easing, they are looking at how to bring events back to the facility; promotional packages have been revamped and promotional material are in the process of being printed.
Director of Protective Services Greg Peters noted the Remedial Properties Policy is completed and was passed at the February 7 regular council meeting.
Mr. Peters also provided a COVID update for the Town. The Town is participating in a wastewater COVID analysis by the Universities of Calgary and Alberta, which tests wastewater for COVID-19 mRNA. This data provides insight into the potential for an increase in community cases up to a week in advance.
Director of Infrastructure Dave Brett asked the Committee for direction on the next steps of the Beautification program. Beautification work along the Highway 9 corridor has been ongoing for several years; work previously identified is ongoing. Funds for the 2022 program are being carried forward from the 2021 Capital Budget, and no additional funds are being requested. However, Mr. Brett shared he would like to ask council’s direction about the Beautification project becoming an annual program. Feedback would help plan the 10-year Capital budget.
Communications officer Erica Crocker shared a staff portal was developed throughout 2021 to have a singular area for policies, procedures, and internal correspondence. There are still some areas under construction, though the portal is operational. An Internal Communications Policy has been drafted and submitted to CAO Drohomerski and Human Resources for review.
Community Development and Social Planning (CDSP) manager Tiffany Scarlett presented the Social Needs Assessment. An assessment was conducted in 2017, which helped influence programming choices for the following years, with the intention to conduct the assessment every five years. Due to recent challenges, needs could potentially change, and a new assessment is ready to be distributed.
Ms. Scarlett also presented council with the Wellness Education plan, a new project to support other departments with cross-training and information to advocate for residents where needs are; this can range from delivering difficult information and understanding emotional responses, to advocating for mobility needs during infrastructure construction or upgrades.
Economic Development manager Reg Johnston shared the Housing Strategy terms of reference is complete and expected to be released by March 1. This will allow the Town to hire a consultant to assess and position the valley’s residential real estate based on four main focus areas-inventory mix, rental unit availability, affordability, and short-term rentals. A letter of inquiry has been submitted to the Alberta Real Estate Foundations Investment Grant for a $25,000 grant.
Mr. Johnston also presented an update to the Downtown Plaza design review and budget. See story on Page 2.
The Committee adjourned to a closed session to discuss Drumheller & District Seniors Foundation and advice from officials for the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation activities.
Complete minutes from council meetings can be found on www.drumheller.ca once they have been adopted.