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Last updateTue, 06 Dec 2022 4pm

Drumheller council approve water, sewer rate increase

Copy of Copy of Drumheller council building

Water and wastewater rates will increase for residents in the Town of Drumheller in 2023, and residents will also see charges for solid waste and recycling services moved from their municipal tax bill to their utility bill beginning in 2023.
Director of Corporate and Community Services, Mauricio Reyes, presented the request to Town council during the regular Monday, December 5 council meeting along with the five-year utility rate model for 2023 to 2027.
He explained the previous utility rate model was presented in 2016 and it recommended an annual water utility increase of five per cent and a wastewater increase of two per cent for the 2017 to 2022 fiscal years. These increases were aimed to help the Town’s utilities to “start on a path to financial self-sustainability.”
A proposed utility rate model for the 2023 to 2027 fiscal years was recently presented to council in October.
Mr. Reyes noted the new model shows a recommended an annual increase of three per cent for water, and an annual increase of six per cent for wastewater services for 2023-2027 in order to keep up with inflation and pressures on the capital and operating expenses.
This increase would come into effect as of January 1, 2023.
It was also recommended the Town move solid waste and recycling services, which were previously funded with municipal taxes, to municipal utility accounts. This is something many municipalities across the province do to fund their solid waste and recycling.
By moving these chages, it was noted the tax funded budget would be reduced by some $260,000; these funds would then be moved to an increased expense in the utility budget.
This change would come into effect March 1, 2023 to allow time for effective communications.

Priorities outlined in Minister Horner mandate letter

Copy of MLA Nate Horner 2

Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner held a virtual media roundtable on Friday, November 25 with members of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) to discuss the mandate letter received from new Alberta Premier Danielle Smith earlier this month outlining the direction and priorities of the ministry.
Among those mandates, Minister Horner has been directed to examine ways to reduce food costs for consumers in Alberta, advocate for farmers and ranchers against federal policies with potential negative impacts such as access problems at the Port of Vancouver and fertilizer reductions, and encourage increased nitrogen production to help reduce costs.
“A real piece I’m excited about is the number one directive in the letter-to ensure Alberta is in a competitive place when attracting agri-food, manufacturing, processing, and investment,” Minister Horner said during the roundtable.
He explains a lot of work has been done over the last year within the ministry.
There were broad goals to attract investment in the agri-food industry and create jobs, and Minister Horner says he sees the mandate letter “as chapter two” of these goals.
Minister Horner notes there have been recent developments in Strathmore and Lethbridge for pea processing, and adds there is also potential for meat processing.
“There’s so much more opportunity out there, I believe Alberta can land so many more good investments,” he says.
Irrigation is another facet of Minister Horner’s portfolio, and he shares he is very proud of the work done in this area over the last three years. He says he hopes to bring irrigation development to areas without it currently, as irrigation has numerous advantages including job creation and drought mitigation.
However, Minister Horner says there is some rigid processes when it comes to “anything to do with water,” but the ministry wants to look at what more can be done across the province.
Minister Horner notes there are some anticipated announcements coming fairly soon which will show the direction of where irrigation is headed in the province.

15-month sentence for flight from police

Copy of court

A Joffre man is facing a 15-month jail sentence upon pleading guilty after attempting to evade Three Hills RCMP.
Spencer Black, 24, appeared in provincial court in Drumheller via closed circuit television on Friday, November 25. He pleaded guilty to an array of charges, stemming from an incident on November 1, 2021.
Three Hills RCMP received a call from a farmer reporting a suspicious vehicle near a lease site on his property.
Officers responded and identified the suspect vehicle as one that had fled from them earlier in the evening. The male suspect attempted to flee on foot and was promptly arrested.
Upon searching the vehicle police located break-in tools as well as a set of brass knuckles.
Black pleaded guilty to flight from police, operating a vehicle in a dangerous manner and possession of a weapon.
He also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of possession of stolen property with a value over $5,000 from a separate incident in Wainwright.
Defence for Black noted on that evening, he and a girlfriend attended a Halloween party. When the girlfriend saw the RCMP she expressed she had warrants, prompting Black to flee.
The judge went along with a joint submission from the Crown and defence for a 13-month sentence for the incidents on November 1, 2021, and two months for the charge originating in Wainwright, to be served consecutively.


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