Following are notes from the M.D. of Smoky River No. 130 regular council meeting held May 13:
Tax penalty bylaw amendment OKed
On March 23, Premier Jason Kenny announced the Education Property Tax Deferral Program as part of their economic relief plan.
In accordance with this plan, the M.D. of Smoky River passed Bylaw-20-939 which defers the payment of education property taxes for non-residential properties for six months [until Oct. 1]).
The Government of Alberta and the M.D. of Smoky River believe this deferral will assist businesses with operating expenses during the economic slump.
The M.D. reminds ratepayers the taxes are still due, simply at a later date. Therefore, those who can pay their education taxes on time are encouraged to do so.
Regional Response Pandemic Plan
The Smoky River Pandemic Response plan is a hazard specific plan that forms part of the larger Emergency Regional Response Plan.
The plan contains the procedures for the region’s response during a State of Public Health Emergency.
Council writes re physician shortage
Reeve Robert Brochu co-signed a letter with the mayors of Donnelly, Falher, McLennan and Girouxville informing the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, of the critical shortage of physicians in our region.
This shortage has left the remaining physicians overworked; a problem that has become especially apparent during the COVID-19 epidemic in the region.
The mayors and reeve have requested the minister of health detail his plans for correcting this shortage.
Council reduces honorarium by 10%
In recognition of the individuals who have suffered pay cuts and job losses during this economic crisis, the Council of the Smoky River have unanimously agreed to voluntarily decrease their honorarium by 10 per cent, retroactively effective April 1.
Council approves 2020 budget
Council has approved the budget for 2020 at $17,322,073.
Mill rates will remain the same as last year with the exception of a one mill increase on farmland.
Director of Ag Services report
The Director of Agriculture has sent out pamphlets detailing harmful weeds in the area. The pamphlet was e-mailed to each of the towns and villages to post on their website, print and distribute.
A tentative date has been established in early June, for the distribution of seedlings for participants of the Shelterbelt program.
Declaration made by council
Council has declared May 17-23 s National Public Works Week, and June 1-7 as Seniors Week.
The M.D. will be promoting the recognition of Public Works Week on their website and social media and will also be placing a banner on the municipal administration building.
PublicWorksWeek is promoted by the American PublicWorks Association [APWA] and is intended to educate the general public on the importance of public works employees.
The M.D. will also be promoting Senior’s Week through its website and social media. As well, a monetary contribution will be sent to FCSS who will facilitate the purchase of a plant/flower for the participating seniors in our communities.
Director of Operations report
Spring Runoff: The director of operations discussed road damages and repairs being made following the spring runoff and subsequent flooding.
Council encourages ratepayers who have experienced damages due to flooding, to contact the M.D. and a formwill be sent to you. There is no guarantee of a program or compensation at this point but the information will be collected to help inform the necessary departments on the extent of damages.
Bids for Tender: Council has awarded the overlay paving of the Smoky River Regional Airport to Knelson Sand and Gravel.
Council also considered the paving of the Viterra Road [Range Road 213 North of Hwy 49] and the paving of the municipal administration building which will be completed subject to grant funding.
Council has also approved the stabilization of the Falher-Girouxville Backroad [Twp Rd 792] which will provide a safer and more durable driving surface and will require less maintenance.
ATCO Project proposal heard
ATCO has proposed a project in Township 75-21 to install 3-phase overhead power poles and lines.
Beginning at Hwy. 744, the project runs east along T754 until RR222. It then crosses Coulombe’s Hill [T54-A] northeast along the Little Smoky until it crosses the Five-Star Road [T755A].
Council has approved the project with appropriate recommendations and stipulations.
Protective Services report
Director of Protective Services, fire chief Marcel Maure, is reminding residents that the fire ban remains in effect although some allowances can be made for essential agricultural and industrial burning, but will require approval and a fire permit. Check the municipality’s website for details.
Regional Tiger Dam system
Fire chief Marcel Maure is looking at the possibility of acquiring a “Tiger Dam” flood control system for North Region of the province.
Maure believes it is important to have the proper equipment to deal with flooding in the region.
He is currently looking at funding options and potential partnerships to acquire the Tiger Dam system for the Peace Region.