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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Drumheller Town Council passes Tax Rate Bylaw

IMG 2727The Town of Drumheller (TOD) held a Special Meeting on Monday, May 13, before the Committee of the Whole Meeting, to give third reading to the Tax Rate Bylaw 14.24 and to discuss the property taxes and requisitions towards the RCMP, Education and Seniors foundations.

As implemented by the Municipal Government Act, every year the TOD must levy property taxes within the Bylaw. The 2024 Property Tax Bylaw 14.24 must meet the Operating and Capital Budget requirements and provincial regulations set forth by the MGA.

TOD will collect just over $14 million in property taxes this year. 14.43 percent will go to covering the Town’s portion of the RCMP costs, totalling just over two million dollars. Provincial requisitions, such as the Alberta School Foundation and the Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation, will cost the town almost $3.5 million. The remaining 60 percent, or $8.5 million will be tax revenue towards the 2024 Operating and Capital Budgets.

In 2023, the average assessment for a single-family home was $234,000, in which the property tax was $2,123.

“We have ended up with a four percent increase on our operating budget, so to give you an idea, an assessed home at $234,000 will see about an $82 change (approximately $0.22/day) on that,” explains Councillor Tony Lacher at the meeting.

By comparison, last year’s budget called for an approximately 4.3 per cent tax increase.

Notices will be out by the end of May and taxes are due by the end of August.


Principal Don Yavis retiring from Morrin School

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Students at Morrin School received a brand new school at the beginning of the year, and come next school year, they will have a new principal.
After 42 years at Morrin School including 13 as principal, Don Yavis will be retiring from teaching.
“I spent my entire career here. I started in 1981-82 as a Phys ed teacher,” Yavis told the Mail.
As a young man, Yavis graduated from high school and said he had a choice to work in the oilfield like his brother or work in the family business at the restaurant.
“Being almost 18 years old, work didn’t sound so good, but university sounded good,” he said. “I took Phys ed because, in my mind, I was going to have fun, and I had zero intention of ever being a teacher.”
Yavis married his junior high sweetheart in his second year at the University of Calgary, finished his third year of the Physical Education Program and received his degree.
“My buddies were all going into education, so I followed them over there to have another year. I came home from the first day we did a practical course, and I told my wife, “They’re going to pay me to play with kids, and now, I know what I want to do,” he said.
“I never thought I would be a teacher, it was never planned until that day I came home from school.”
Growing up in a big family, working with kids wasn’t a stretch for him and in 1981 he graduated from the Education program. He immediately began sending out resumes but didn’t get a response immediately.
Only a few weeks later he was back home working at the restaurant.
“I was waiting on a table at the restaurant, and the deputy superintendent was having lunch with a guy that worked at Excelsior Motors. I was waiting on their table, and he called me over and asked me if I wanted to teach in Morrin or Delia. That was my interview,” he said.
He picked Morrin and never looked back. He exclusively taught Phys ed for about 24 years and then began teaching Biology. In 2011 he became principal, succeeding Nick Thornton, who served for four years after Dr. Schielke retired.
“I picked Morrin basically for the location. I couldn’t have ended up in a better school. The community is fantastic, and the kids are amazing. I have graduating kids, who are the kids of people I taught, it has really been an amazing, wonderful career.”
His style has always been inclusive and student-centric.
“The key to my success is I always remember what it is like to be at that age and some of the things they have to deal with. We’re not a disciplinary school, we don’t punish kids for making bad decisions. We talk them through it and hope they change the way they are thinking or their thought process. Our goal is to create good human beings here… so when they walk out of here they are going to fit in wherever they go.”
He says the toughest part of retiring is not working with the students, but he may be back subbing.
“I really don’t think I can leave the kids. That’s what what I am going to miss the most; the kids in the hall, getting them off the bus, saying goodbye to them at the end of the day and all that other stuff. I warned the teachers if you get me to sub the elementary, they’re not going to get a lot of work done,” he said.
He is confident the school is in good hands and has a strong culture.
“Becky Webster has been hired to come in as principal, and she’s very much in tune with how we run things, and I think it will be a smooth transition. She’ll easily be able to work her philosophy into it.”

Motor sports resort ask Kneehill for road funding support

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At Kneehill County’s Tuesday, April 23, Council Meeting, Manager of Planning and Development, Barb Hazelton, presented Council with a Request for Decision from Badlands Recreation Development Corp. (BRDC) regarding Bylaw/Policy Badlands Motorsport Resort Area Structure Plan.

Hazelton asked Council to authorize Kneehill County’s Reeve, Ken King, to send a letter to Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, Devin Dreeshan, to confirm funding required to build an access road from Highway 9 to the resort.

Developer, James Zelazo, has been working hard on the proposed project, that is within the approved Area Structure Plan, but has found it difficult to obtain funding for the construction of the road.

The cost of the road is estimated to be $15 million, so the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program (STIP) through the Local Municipal Initiatives (LMI) would be the most appropriate avenue to obtain funding of this magnitude.

Through the STIP - LMI program, 75 per cent of the cost, $11.25 million, would be funded by the province, with the remaining 25 per cent, $3.75 million, funded by the Municipality.

Zelazo has asked Council to write the letter on his behalf in order to proceed with the next steps, such as geotechnical and engineering work needed to begin the construction process of the road.

“The Municipality agrees to submit an application for this funding on behalf of Badlands (BRDC). Administration was of the opinion that a letter from the Reeve to the Minister confirming this potential funding source, as well as assurance that it will not impact the Municipality’s ability to obtain grant funding through the normal process for municipal projects,” says Hazelton.

If funds are granted, and the road is constructed, the County will own the road and will be responsible for it after it is built.


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