The following are selected briefs from the May 29 regular meeting of Picture Butte council.
Volunteer firefighter tax credits
As a follow-up to the policy brought in back in February, Fire Chief of the Picture Butte fire department, Frank West said, based on the volunteer firefighters and their commitments in 2022, the figure was as budgeted. “This year we did include in the operating budget, $15,000 to the credit.” It was requested that council pass a motion in accordance with the MGA approving the credits as presented.
Council passed the motion to approved the tax credit for the firefighters as presented.
West said, “I do want to convey to council my appreciation for this policy. Being the second municipality that I know of in Alberta that has implemented this after Coaldale, I know after this passed through the budget I had a few calls from other municipalities who were very interested in the program and I shared some details with them. I how it goes further to support volunteer fire departments across Alberta,” and added he is glad Picture Butte is one of the forerunners with this vision.
Although Lethbridge County has no yet taken part in formal discussions regarding the potential adoption of a similar policy, West said, “it sounds like there is interest on this as well be it something similar for firefighters that reside in Lethbridge County.”
CAO Keith Davis addressed questions about the Town’s Recreation complex. Coun. Papworth inquired about the recreation complex, “once we have this study done, are we going to look into options of how to help pay for it?”
Davis said the study will determine what the condition and functionality of the building is, and determining estimates from there.
Deputy Mayor Henry de Kok asked whether the study would factor in the various user groups which utilize the building
Mayor Moore asked, “ council has been talking about putting in a pickleball court, has anything further been done?”
To date, lines for to pickleball court have gone in; two on the east tennis court and once the court is ready to go, the Town will start advertising it is ready to go.
Mayor Moore also inquired as to whether the Town was able to turn on the raw water line yet, and noted council have been receiving calls form residents along third street wondering about it.
Deputy Mayor de Kok added, “I think you can put some pressure on them because every farmer in the county is watering.”
Davis said the messaging from LNID has indicated they are prioritizing farmers for the time being.
Emergency services report:
Frank West said the targeted completion date for the fire hall will be mid-July.
“There is one unknown right now. We are still waiting on a couple of electrical components to come in. Everything else has arrived, but those couple electrical components are holding up some of the electric which are also holding up the Fortis install.”
Electricians are still working on what they can for the time being and the project is expected to be completed by July so long as the parts arrive in a timely fashion. The roof has also been completed, and HVAc is close to being complete as well, with exterior work and finishes underway.
West said, crews and equipment has also returned from helping with the wildfire efforts up north.
“We are back to normal capacity and everybody is hopefully going to get some rest without moving significant happening in this area. Everybody is a little tired but happy to participate.”
West added, “our firefighters putting their hands up and offering their service to go, is 100 per cent volunteered time and requires them to use time off or vacation time, whatever they can do to get permission from their employers. Local employers working with our volunteers has been phenomenal.”