News | DrumhellerMail - Page #25
Last updateFri, 12 Jul 2024 11pm

Council adopts amendments to operating and capital budgets

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At the Regular Council Meeting on April 22, 2024, Council passed the amendments to the 2024 Property Tax-Supported Operating and Capital Budgets. The suggested amendments to the previously approved budgets are a result of cost overruns in several capital projects.
The changes represent a 2.6% increase. Impacts due to this increase will be funded by the Town through the contingency reserve.
The Town’s anticipated 4% tax increase is a response to the high interest rate and inflationary environment and is comparable to other municipalities in Alberta. Council had initially passed the 2024 Property Tax-Supported Operating Budget of approximately $22.3 million, including requisitions at the January 22, 2024, Regular Council Meeting.
The Operating Budget is prepared with a four-year outlook and is reviewed and approved annually. This financial planning provides a strong foundation and the ability for the organization to be flexible with future projects and initiatives.
One quarter, or $5.475 million, of the Town’s 2024 Operating Budget, is represented by provincial requisitions. The Town is responsible for collecting and remitting provincial requisitions, including the Education Requisition (13%), Seniors’ Lodge Requisition (3%) and the RCMP Policing Contract (9%).
“Although inflationary costs have been on somewhat of a downward trend, they remain elevated from those of months ago when the Capital Budget was passed,” says Councillor Tony Lacher. “These same elevated costs flow through to the annual Operating Budget; however, Council is pleased to hold steady on the 4% tax increase proposed at that time.”
Based on the property assessments in the Town of Drumheller for 2023, an average residential property is assessed at $234,000. With the 4% increase in the tax rate, an average homeowner can anticipate seeing an additional $81.66 for the year, or $0.22 per day. The budgeting process is focused on achieving balance, investing in infrastructure and increasing the efficiencies in service delivery while exploring opportunities to reduce costs.

Drumheller emergency services respond to collision

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Drumheller emergency services, including the Drumheller Fire Department, AHS Ambulance and RCMP, responded to a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of South Dinosaur Trail and 13 Street SW shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. An SUV and a motorcyclist collided. The motorcyclist was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries. Traffic was directed around the scene, but was quickly restored, as emergency services cleared the scene.

Saewa presents Kneehill with option to turn waste into energy

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At the Tuesday, April 9, Council Meeting, Kneehill Council members accepted, as information, a presentation from Southern Alberta Energy from Waste Association’s (SAEWA) Vice-Chairman, Paul Ryan.

Established in 2009, SAEWA is a non-profit alliance of municipalities and waste management locations in southern Alberta. Their goal is developing sustainable waste management practices.

“Our project goal is the research and implementation of energy recovery from non-recyclable waste materials, and to get away from our long-term reliance on landfills,” states Ryan to Council.

The technology, decided upon by the project engineers, is Thermal Treatment of Waste, otherwise known as incineration. The waste won’t be burned through giant smokestacks, emitting thick black smoke. The emissions are cleaner than natural gas and the smoke from the waste will not be as visible.

The site for the facility, which will have a processing capacity of 300,000 tonnes of waste per year, will be in Newell County. They have a landfill that is already approved for Municipal Waste Management, and is far from residential areas.

SAEWA conducted a Feasibility Study for the project, which is mandatory for any government organization.

“We looked at how much waste was out there, how it was collected and transported, and the ability to recover heat and generate electricity,” Ryans says of the study. “We looked at air emissions and our control options. one-third of the cost of waste facilities are dedicated to air emissions.”

The engineers completed a life-cycle analysis, alongside the Pembina Institute which are a third-party think-tank dedicated to advocating for strong and effective policies in support of clean energy. The data from their analysis was verified by Oil and Gas Sustainability.

“The project as it is now, with all of the information that was provided by our engineers, is that they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year, or over 7,000,000 tonnes over the lifespan of the project,” states Ryan on behalf of the report about the analysis which was released by the Pembina Institute.

There are a lot of materials that cannot be recycled due to contamination from food products. These materials go into the Energy Waste facility to generate the energy for the operations. Energy recovery waste products increase recycling through other materials such as metals that are pulled from the waste. There is also the processed steam that can be used for district heat, food processing and can even be processed back into water for the facility.

“What are the environmental benefits of waste to energy rather than landfilling?’’ Councillor Carrie Fobes asked Ryan at the end of his presentation.

“That is a really, really good question,” replied Ryan. “There is something called a National Inventory Report done by Environment Canada. It notes the top contributors of greenhouse gasses. Landfills are responsible for 28 per cent of the methane produced in Canada, which is about 20 times worse than CO2. If you have an Energy Waste facility, you do not have the methane generation that comes off gasses from municipal landfills, with municipal solid waste.”

There has been over three million dollars invested in the project so far, with $1.5 million of that going towards conducting all of the reports.

Council moved to accept the presentation as information and made a motion to request confidential documents from SAEWA before they make any further delegations. The documents will be provided to council members in confidence.


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