By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
The following are selected briefs from the Sept. 7 council meeting:
Bridge File 79589
Lethbridge County has approved a $100,000 budget increase for galvanized culverts.
County Council heard from the County’s Director of Municipal Development & Infrastructure, Devon Thiele during the Sept. 5 regular council meeting for an update on Bridge File 79589.
The bridge is located at the intersection of Howe Road and Brown Road and was previously scheduled for replacement in 2023-2024. Initially, the project was expected to cost $300,000, and would include the installation of two 2.5 metre galvanized culverts.
Thiele said during the design phase, it was determined two 2.5m culverts would not sufficiently accommodate water flows.
It was determined two 2.7m culverts would be a more appropriate solution. The design process also revealed for an additional $30,000 the County would be able to invest in polymer-coated culverts which would add an extra 25 years to their lifespan.
Thiele said upon learning that the 10mm thick ethylene acrylic acid can extend the line span of the culverts significantly, “we thought because we get that additional life expectancy from the coating, we thought it would be prudent to go forward with that type of culvert install for this project,” adding the department will most likely be looking at similar products for future bridge files.
Although the project will cost more than originally expected in 2023, administration noted polymer-coated culverts have a longer lifecycle as the coating protects the steel from corrosive forces, such as abrasion and soil pH levels. The average lifespan of the polymer-coated culverts ranges from 50-100 years, whereas non-coated culverts are useful for 25-50 years, depending on the conditions.
As such, administration made the recommendation for council to approve $137,000 in additional funding from the Bridges and Paved Roads Reserve which currently has a $5 million dollar balance, bringing the total budget to $437,000, including a $52,000 contingency, which if not needed, will put the project cost at $385,000.
Council voted in favour of the increase.
Bylaw 23-020 Development Authority Bylaw
Council passed all three readings of Bylaw 23-020 during the Sept. 7 council meeting.
The passing of Bylaw 23-020 rescinds the Development Authority Bylaw (1392), which was
approved on Feb. 8, 2013.
County administration noted a number of factors, including the positions related to the Development Authority had evolved and required an amendment to keep the document up to date, and reflective of the current positions within the County’s Development Authority.
Council passed all three readings and the bylaw has been adopted.
Tax penalty waiver requests
A letter submitted to council by the Hutterian Brethren Church of Turin was submitted to Lethbridge County Council on Aug. 11, 2023 requesting the County waive the five per cent tax penalty added to the tax account.
The Church’s letter said a “mishap” during the online Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) process, where the total was entered but not submitted online, resulted in the bill not being paid prior to the July 31 tax deadline. The letter noted it was not until the end of the month when accounting was completed a few weeks later that the error was caught.
The letter asked the County to consider waiving the “large sum”, referring to the account’s good standing and track record, despite this year’s clerical error.
Jennifer Place, Director of Corporate Services made the recommendation that council not waive the penalty of $5,849.19, noting, “penalties have been levied per the Tax Penalty Bylaw #1273. Additionally, a waiver of penalty could set some precedent for future requests of a similar nature.”
Place said the County has not historically waived tax penalties, but that the MGA allows for a few options in rectifying these cases. Municipalities can opt to reduce the amount owed or defer the collection of the tax.
Place said the Hutterian Brethren Church of Turin was later informed the five per cent penalty was in accordance with the County’s Tax Penalty Bylaw and not applying the penalty could set a precedent for future requests.
Ultimately, council passed a resolution to not waive the tax penalty request in this case.
Council later considered a second tax penalty waiver request from I3 Energy.
A request was emailed to Reeve Tory Campbell on Aug. 11, which stated I3 Energy, “has full intentions” to pay the penalty before the Sept. 30 penalty deadline, but cited lower than anticipated revenues this time of year as a result of shut down in production from forest fires and major facility turnarounds.
Council discussed the merits of the request and voted against a motion to waive the penalty for I3 Energy as well.