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Council Notes from the Regular Council meeting of Monday, January 21, 2019

 

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Council Notes
Drumheller Town Council
Regular Council Meeting
Monday, January 21, 2019

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Council held discussion over the 2019 utility budget. Director of Corporate Services Barb Miller said the council budget reflects the 5 per cent increase to water and wastewater utility budget. She said the budget does not cover the rate for the debenture payment, but covers amortization and operation costs. The water utility budget results in a deficit of $900 for 2019 including full amortization costs, and the sewer utility budget has a deficit of $262,600 including full amortization costs. The town is moving toward a cost-recovery model in future budgets to cover the debenture payment. The water administration budget is drafted to increase to $1,732,840 from $1,550,840 over 2018. The low lift pump station draft budgeted amount will increase from $16,245 in 2018 to $25,915. The raw water reservoir amount will decrease from $29,025 to $18,870 in 2019. The water purification and treatment amount is drafted to decrease slightly from $1,042,835 in 2018 to $1,030,235. The transmission and distribution totals are drafted to increase from $547,045 to $587,685. The sewage administration for Drumheller will increase from $803,440 to $827,900, and for East Coulee increase slightly frin $58,500 to $60,000. Sewage collection draft budgeting for Drumheller will decrease from $537,160 to $446,510. For East Coulee it will increase from $15,390 to $31,520. Sewage treatment budgets for Drumheller are drafted to increase from $556415 to $591,645, and for East Coulee, it will decrease from $96,760 to $80,825. Council unanimously moved to accept the budget as presented.
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Council deferred discussion over the capital budget for council at their next council meeting on February 4.
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Council included the quarterly report from Economic Development Officer Julia Fielding for information, as the original discussed was not livestreamed last week due to technical reasons.
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An item submitted by public works director Kevin Blanchette regarding reducing costs associated with the fountain near the World’s Largest Dinosaur for information, but council wished to postpone decisions until a public consultation process is completed.
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Councillor Jay Garbutt presented the Drumheller Housing Administration 2019 budget for approval which was approved unanimously.
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Council Notes from the Committee of the Whole Meeting of Monday, January 14, 2019

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Council Notes

Drumheller Town Council
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, January 14, 2019

 

Council and administration presented their quarterly reports on December 31.
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CAO Darryl Drohomerski presented his report for both the CAO office and infrastructure services. Drumheller was approved to move forward on the final phase of flood mitigation. The former ski hill will not be available for a toboggan hill and other options will be researched. The strategic business plan was approved by council and work priorities will be provided to council. A new bylaw regarding off-site levies was recommended. A draft bylaw of the tourism corridor bylaw has been reviewed by stakeholders and will be presented to council in February. Hiring of an infrastructure services director and economic development manager will be completed by the end of January and the development officer position has been filled and will start January 21.
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Director of Corporate Services Barb Miller presented her report. Property tax notices were issued totalling over $11 million. This is made up of about $8.7 million requisitioned by the town, $2.7 million through the Alberta School Foundation Fund, and over $500,000 requisitioned by the senior foundation. So far 96 per cent of taxes have been collected. Tax arrears public auction date is set for January 25.
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Director of Protective Services Greg Peters presented his report. Work continues on the Tourism Corridor and Community Standards Bylaw, both of which will be presented again to council in January and February respectively. Work on a fenced dog park in Newcastle will commence in the spring. A municipal emergency plan is being worked on this year.
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Arts, Culture, and Recreation manager Darren Goldthorpe presented his report, which included statistics and usage of the Badlands Community Facility and Aquaplex. Work is being done to find a location for a toboggan hill. Work is being done on mapping a local heritage walking tour. Alberta Culture Days in September has been given up by previous committee members and the committee is looking to plan and organize for 2019 but they require funding.
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Family and Community Supports Services coordinator April Harrison presented her report. A community counselling program has been utilized. A poverty reduction strategy was being worked on and it has recommended to join a provincial network to reduce costs. Out of school youth programming is being investigated and grants have been submitted. A welcoming newcomers program is being developed. Funding for an events coordinator is being requested in the operating budget.
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Mayor and council entered their quarterly reports for information.
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Council and administration discussed cost savings efforts designed to meet a 5 per cent operating budget cut. Arts, Culture, and Recreation manager Darren Goldthorpe brought forward a number of suggestions regarding low impact service cuts for his department. This included modifying the hours of the outdoor pool and the Badlands Community Facility. Public Works operations manager Kevin Blanchett suggested changes to the fountain at Rotary Park that may realize further savings.
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Director of Corporate Services Barb Miller sought direction from Council on recommendations from the remuneration task force. Council gave direction to bring forward a number of recommendations, contingent on this year’s budget.

Council Notes from the Regular Council Meeting of Monday, January 7, 2019

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Council Notes

Drumheller Town Council
Regular Council Meeting
Monday, January 7, 2019

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Council approved a request for decision for the approval of a payment to Knibb Developments in the amount of $50,810 for the creation and installation of the artwork “Ironosaurus Wreck” located at the Badlands Community Facility. Once approved a cheque will be issued to Knibb Developments, where they will then issue a donation cheque back to the town for the same amount and be treated as a donation, ultimately not costing the town any money.
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Council heard a review of strategic business plan work. Economic Development Officer Julia Fielding said work is being done on a flood communication plan, which she said will be communicated to the public this year. Administration is working to communicate necessary flood preparedness information to residents prior to seasonal flooding in the spring. Ms. Fielding updated on the downtown development strategy, saying work is continuing on creating a unified colour palette, blade signs, and storefront improvement projects council gave direction for at a previous meeting. Council heard an update regarding the demolition of the former Elk’s Club building and Mr. Drohomerski said they are working with Telus, ATCO, and Shaw regarding the demolition as there is a fibre optic wire buried nearby. It is expected work will be completed by the end of March. Mr Drohomerski updated council on the dyke design work which will be completed in spring, with tenders planned to be advertised in March.
Council heard update on the downtown plaza. The town is looking at potentially turning the Elk’s building site into a place for the plaza this coming summer. Discussions will come with the capital budget discussions coming at the end of this month. Director of Corporate Services Barb Miller said they have conducted interviews regarding a municipal accountant for the Infrastructure Master Plan but are still looking for a candidate. Council heard discussion from the park and pay program at tourist sites from Director of Protective Services Greg Peters. Mayor Heather Colberg said the town provides the parking at the hoodoos as the province owns the hoodoos. She said the town is responsible for maintaining parking there. She clarified it was simply discussion for council and said anyone with concerns can reach out to council. In a request for a decision regarding a pay and park system, Mr. Peters presented research he conducted on two options, one being an electronic Park Plus system and the other an honour box system. See story on page 1 for more details. Councillor Jay Garbutt said the request was a way for the town to monetize assets to offset associated costs of tourism, and both he and Councillor Tony Lacher said the Park Plus option was a better choice to recover costs of the system. Councillor Lisa Hansen-Zacharuk said past councils have looked into park and pay systems and she would like to see a decision made.
Councillor Fred Makowecki said the cost of paving the parking lots and adding restrooms costs a significant amount of money, and that residents should not be paying associated tourism costs. A motion was made for the town to spend a maximum of $5,000 on an honour box at the Hoodoo location site. Mr. Peters expressed concern over vandalism and theft from the honour box at that location, and recommended having a trial at the World’s Largest Dinosaur. Mr. Drohomerski recommended council defeat the motion so administration had a few more weeks to come to a solution, suggesting that paying someone to collect money at the Hoodoos might be more viable and safer. Councillor Garbutt expressed support for a honour box at the WLD. Councillor Zariski inquired about Councillor Hansen-Zacharuk’s idea of using a ‘text-to-donate’ option. All councillors were opposed to the motion and it was defeated. More information will be brought back by Mr. Peters on February 11.
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Council held round-table discussions. Councillor Makowecki asked for an update on the hiring of an economic development officer and director of infrastructure. Mr. Drohomerski said they’ve conducted interviews for the director of infrastructure position, with hopes to complete all interviews by the end of January. An economic development officer has been hired and will be announced shortly.
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Council moved in to a private session to discuss staff long service and recognition policy.


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