The Town of Bashaw will cut from two council meetings a month down to one due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was made at the Mar. 19 regular meeting of council.
Town CAO Theresa Fuller brought to council an agenda item involving regularly scheduled meetings of town council.
Currently, council meets the first and third Thursdays of the month.
Coun. Rosella Peterman felt it was a good idea, and a special council meeting could always be called if needed.
Councillors unanimously decided to go to one meeting a month for now and hold their next council meeting Apr. 2.
CAO Fuller and Director of Operations Murray Holroyd gave updates on what the town was doing to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.
Holroyd said the town has met with stakeholders and reviewed the provincial government’s announcements and decisions. He noted the town has been asked to follow Alberta Health’s lead on this issue.
In addition, the town is tracking its expenses on the measures.
Coincidentally, the council also had their updated Emergency Management Bylaw to read.
Fuller presented a report to council on the matter.
The bylaw now names council as the emergency management committee with the ability for the mayor, or if unavailable, the deputy mayor, or if unavailable, a councillor to declare a state of local emergency.
It was presented to councillors for information.
54th Ave. paving
CAO Fuller presented the results of a tender for paving of 54th Ave. and noted six submissions were received.
“[Engineering firm] Tagish is recommending the award of Border Paving for $157,018.16, inclusive of GST,” stated the report.
“They are proposing to begin work in June and completion date timeline of Aug. 15, 2020.”
Councillors heard that the project will also include patching for a recent waterline break that had to be dug up. Councillors unanimously approved the recommendation.
Councillors decided they will pay for increased policing costs through a special tax on utility bills.
CAO Fuller presented a memo to council noting that it seems to be the fairest way to handle the situation.
Last year the provincial government announced plans to increase police resources in Alberta, but municipalities, including Bashaw, had to find ways to pay for it.
“If we gotta collect it, we gotta collect it, right?” said Coun. Darren Pearson.
Fuller noted the utility bill approach means everyone pays the same amount; an approach based on assessment would have meant property owners would pay based on how much their property was worth.
The total bill for increased policing for Bashaw will be $15,703 and the province stated it will start collecting the 2020 money by Jan. 2021.
Fuller noted in her memo that it works out to $7.29 on every utility account every two months.
Coun. Lynn Schultz stated the bill needs to be clearly marked so residents know where the tax came from; Couc. Rob McDonald stated any residents with concerns should contact the MLA Jackie Lovely.
The final bylaw will come back to the next council meeting for approval.
Stu Salkeld, LJI reporter