Bashaw town council heard that its RCMP detachment is getting boosted by one important member, a corporal, after staff presented a letter from the RCMP. The letter was presented at the Oct. 4 regular meeting of council.
In an interview with the ECA Review Oct. 6 Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated councillors received a letter from K Division in Edmonton regarding the Alberta police funding model resource allocation, or more commonly known as the “boots on the ground” announcement that was made by former Premier Jason Kenney shortly after he was elected in 2019.
The resource allocation, in short, announced Alberta communities would enjoy increased police resources to deal with the ongoing surge in crime, especially in rural areas.
The resource allocation came with a price tag that each community was required to pay.
Bashaw councillors read in the letter that their RCMP detachment would be receiving a new corporal-level police officer; typically an officer of this rank performs police work but also takes on some management responsibilities
Fuller stated councillors voiced interest in sending a thank you letter to K Division for this boost.
Fuller stated the Bashaw detachment has been “somewhat short-staffed” while Bashaw taxpayers have seen their police taxation rise from about $15,000 to over $47,000 as a result of the “boots on the ground” announcement.
Where is it going?
The CAO stated councillors unanimously passed a resolution to employ advanced technology to try to get to the bottom of Bashaw’s missing water.
After examining the staff’s regular water reconciliation report councillors were disappointed to see the municipality still has water leaving its system that cannot be accounted for.
Fuller explained this is a serious issue as the Town of Bashaw is a member of the Hwy. #12/21 Water Commission and Bashaw residents pay for their water usage by the cubic metre. Hence, any cubic metres that can’t be accounted for means money out of the municipality’s pockets.
The report revealed more efforts to find out where the missing water originates from have failed.
Councillors therefore approved the hiring of a contractor that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to examine the issue and find out what’s going on.
Fuller stated it’s well-known around town Bashaw’s high water table means a leak might not show up on the surface; the town has also installed new water metres in an effort to stop the missing water flow.
She stated councillors also discussed the possibility a location in Bashaw is using water but doesn’t have a water metre.
Councillors discussed updating their water bylaw; Fuller explained the current bylaw is out of date. Councillors decided they will meet Oct. 16 to discuss reviewing this bylaw.
Bashaw town council decided to leave the Fortis 2024 power line franchise fee at the same level as the current year. The fee is paid to municipalities by utility companies in return for doing business there.
It’s generally accepted in the municipal world that if councils increase the franchise fee, utility companies simply pass that increase on to their customers who are the residents of the community.
Two years ago, Fuller noted, Bashaw councillors actually dropped their franchise fee by one per cent in order to help local residents during the pandemic.
The CAO also stated many Bashaw councillors have called franchise fees a “hidden tax” in the past.
Fuller stated councillors approved the draft 2024 budget of the Parkland Regional Library System, which is proposing a modest increase.
The CAO stated Bashaw taxpayers would pay about $350 more per year if the increase was approved; it was noted the library network didn’t request any hikes during the COVID pandemic.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter