Budget adjustment, Master Rates bylaw, two subdivision applications approved
· BUDGET ADJUSTMENT FOR SPECIAL INITIATIVES
· MASTER RATES BYLAW ACCEPTED
· SUBDIVISION IN DIVISION 9 APPROVED 7-2
· SUBDIVISION IN DIVISION 5 PASSED 8-1
COUNCIL GIVES FIRST READING TO BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS
A number of budget adjustments were presented to Council for first reading:
Operating Budget - Tax funded Special Initiatives $ 597,100.
Capital Budget - Other funding Special Initiatives $8,565,000.
Operating budget initiatives included a livestock trailer, fire sprinkler trailer, service van, steamer units, playground upgrades, storage tanks and additional staff.
Capital budget initiatives included three bridge replacements, a sand/salt storage facility, pedestrian walkway improvements, road paving and upgrades to the Langdon Fire Hall.
The above initiatives will be advertised in the coming weeks to allow for public input.
MASTER RATES BYLAW ADJUSTMENTS ACCEPTED
On February 27th, the Master Rates Bylaw was put on hold by Council to allow for public input. As a result, the County received a number of responses, primarily from the Bragg Creek area.
Bragg Creek Councillor Mark Kamachi argued that the rates in the Bragg Creek should not increase, rather remain frozen at 2017 levels.
Administration’s changes were as follows:
Water Rates: Increase from $1.876 to $2.064 per cubic meter.
Sewer Rates: Increase from $4.706 to $5.177 per cubic meter.
In both cases, the $25 monthly flat fee would remain unchanged.
Kamachi asked Council to provide this relief while other options for cost distribution were explored. He cited the need to educate residents about water usage and the benefits of tying into the system, permit more users such as local businesses, and explore the option to expand the system through subdivision.
Deputy Reeve Gautreau felt that the residents were already the benefactors of financial assistance as they had already received a provincial grant to tie into the system. He also noted that this tie-in had not been mandatory due to past legal precedence. However, a recent change in the legal climate would now allow tie-in to become mandatory, an option he felt should be explored by the County.
Councillor Kevin Hanson stated he couldn’t support it as all other areas were increasing at almost the same rate as Bragg Creek. He did not believe that the rest of Rocky View should support reductions in another area when they were all receiving similar hikes. He stated it wasn’t just about deferring payment for a year; it’s about the environment and doing what is right.
Councillor Crystal Kissel stated residents in the Monterra area were already paying significantly more ($150/month flat fee). And, therefore, Kamachi’s motion was unfair.
Councillor Kim McKylor stated she felt that the residents should be given a break, this time. However, there was a need for more comprehensive, long term solutions – a sentiment that was echoed by Councillor Al Schule.
In a presentation by Utilities Manager Stuart Jewison, it was noted that the average user in Bragg Creek would see a monthly increase of $10 under the 2018 fees.
The motion failed on a 5-4 vote with Councillors Kamachi, McKylor, Schule and Henn in support. In light of the information provided, I could not support Kamachi as I believed it was fundamentally unfair to the remainder of County residents. I also noted that Bragg Creek was not operating at cost recovery and, therefore, was already being subsidized.
Councillor Kamachi went on to oppose first and second reading. However, third reading received unanimous support and the motion was passed.
SUBDIVISION IN DIVISION 9 GIVEN APPROVED 7-2
An application to divide a 39.6-acre parcel into two 19.8 acre parcels, in the County’s far northwest, was given approval 7-2. Opposition came from Councillor McKylor and myself. We both believed that proposed the location of the internal road was on the wrong side of the parcel, thereby inhibiting future subdivision. There were no letters of support or opposition.
After dealing with applications in which panhandle driveways are problematic to future subdivision, I strongly believe we should be looking at providing solutions to prevent such situations when granting approval at the subdivision stage.
The applicant had also asked that the Transportation Off-site levies (TOL) be deferred to future subdivision as the owners cited financial hardship. The motion passed on a vote of 5-4. Councillors Kissel, McKylor, Hanson and I voted in opposition.
SUBDIVISION IN DIVISION 5 APPROVED 8-1
An application to divide a 155 acre parcel into one 20-acre lot with a 135-acre remainder was approved unanimously in Division 5, close to the Calgary border. Councillor Schule recused himself from the hearing as he had previously worked on the application. There were no letters of support or opposition.
Local Councillor, Deputy Reeve Gautreau, had asked to have the TOL’s and Municipal Reserves deferred. However after some debate and clarification, he chose not to pursue the matter. Reeve Boehlke, however, felt the MR’s should be deferred. As such, he provided the lone opposition to the application which succeeded on a vote of 8-1.