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Coalhurst Council receives department reports

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

The following are selected briefs from departmental reports during Coalhurst town council’s regular Sept. 19 meeting.

CAO report

The following are highlights from Shawn Patience’s CAO Report to council:

• On the development side, he filed an appeal on the County Home Occupation Distillery permit, is working on appeal case documents for submission to the Land and Property Rights Tribunal, worked on updating Fire Quality Management Plan (QMP) that has been submitted and approved and met with ORRSC staff to discuss permitting and staffing options moving forward.

• On the Corporate Services side, he met with Mike Passey, Director of Corporate services for the Town, to review financial software and go over consultation options and plan for budget, and reviewed capital budget items.

• On the Community Development side, he worked with Kim Horak from the Miner’s Days Committee and held several meetings and phone conversations to get the Miner’s Days parade organized, and worked with South Country Co-op staff to organize the pancake breakfast. He also redrafted Community Services Director job profile and advertised the position and reviewed all Recreation Master Plan submissions.

• On the operations side, he reviewed contract deficiencies on wetlands project. Further discussion on the wetlands was advised to take place in closed session.

• On the Legislative Services, he worked on the Business License Bylaw redraft, reviewed the Community Standards Bylaw draft and completed the redraft and review of all linked bylaws and policies and continued Committee review process and staff report for COTW and council meetings.

• On the Emergency services sides, reviewed and scored responses to Regional Emergency Management Program RFP, met with regional partners and Trace Consulting to go over Regional Emergency Management Program start up plan, met with regional partners and city representatives on a proposed live emergency exercise planned for early 2024, and discussed organizing a organizing crime prevention session RCMP. When asked about whether a recording of the RCMP presentation session would be available, council was told that it would go in a social media post as soon as possible.

Council passed a motion to receive the report for information.

Director of Operations Report

The following are highlights from Kevin Lewis’ Director of Operations report:

• The bridges for the wetland project were scheduled to be installed on Sept. 15. Once the bridges are installed the final section of the pathway and finalization of the landscaping and lighting will take place. When asked if the landscaping and pathway and lighting would be completed by the end of the year, Lewis said it would be completed within the next two weeks. We have had some concerns about the lighting installed to date and we are reviewing this with the contractor. The lights are emitting more off-site light pollution than expected from the plan detail design. Additionally, the town  has some issues with the lights, as they are emitting more off-site light pollution than expect from the plan detail design. The light designers are meeting with the engineering firm to fix the problem.

“Once they are finished construction this year, it will be accessible. The pathways will be useable and everything else,” said Lewis.

• Approximately eight vandalism issues took place in the town’s parks this summer, and have been reported to the R.C.M.P.

• The contractor for the shop addition will be starting construction over the next few weeks. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

• The town has a request for proposal closing on Sept. 20 for sidewalk replacement on the north side of 51st Avenue from 4th to 5th Street.

• Leaf pick-up will take place on Oct. 23. All leaves and yard waste must be in brown paper disposable yard waste bags and placed out by 7:30 a.m. on pick-up day.

• Work will begin in the next few weeks on the irrigation system winterization, winterization of bark buildings, water meter repairs and the preparation of snow removal equipment, building inspections, and maintenance.

Council passed a motion to receive the report for information.

Director of Corporate Services Report

Passey had submitted his Director of Corporate Services report and the Variance Report to council. Some highlights of the CS Report are:

• Preparations for the 2024 budget are underway. The Province had released their estimated equalized assessment for municipalities. Due to the difference between the equalized assessment and the assessment from the town’s assessor, Passey is using a more conservative value of five per cent in budget preparations, which would generate approximately $100,000 more in taxation if the mill rate were to remain the same as 2023.

• Information is being gathered for the 2024 budget consultation survey. A roll-out date for the survey has not been set, nor has a date for an open house, but administration will be looking into when they can hold that so that the information is available for Council for deliberations.

• One item in the 2023 Budget was an upgrade to the financial software used by administration, which has been in use since 2009, although the software is older than that. Their current contract, and the software is older than that. Their current contract for it expires at the end of 2024. Passey has been looking at different systems, and plans to make a decision by the end of the month, with implementation taking place during the second quarter of 2024. The approved budget for this was $80,000 funded from the Administration Reserve; however, based on the demos and quotes received, Passey expects that it will be significantly less, and they will see a decrease in the annual licensing cost.

• The Corporate Services staff are currently working on getting vendors paid by electronic funds transfer (EFT). In March 2023, only a few payees signed up, but now approximately half of each payables batch are being paid through EFT.

As for the Variance Report, Passey said that overall, the variances are “in line with where they expect to be at this point of year”. One thing of note is that interest is “significantly up” for funds in the bank. A couple of other points of interest for the variance report is a refund from the Canadian Revenue Agency due to a past overpayment and expense increases associated with the local fire department fighting wildfires up north this past summer.

Council passed a motion to receive the report for information.

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