Clive waits on province before property tax deferral decision

The Village of Clive council decided to wait for provincial direction before deciding how to address property tax deferrals amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The issue was one of several related to COVID-19 discussed at the April 14 regular meeting of council, which was conducted via videoconference.

Village of Clive CAO Carla Kenney stated by phone April 17 that councillors decided to wait on the province to make an announcement regarding deferral of municipal property tax and late tax payment penalties.

Many other municipalities are pushing their property tax deadlines back and deferring penalties to assist those residents affected by the pandemic.

However, councillors at the meeting decided taxpayers on the monthly tax payment plan will have three extra months to make their payments.

She noted partial payments can also be made but late payments for three months won’t mean cancellation of the plan.

Some municipalities have also waived late fees for utility bills during the pandemic.

As far as village utility bills, Clive doesn’t charge penalties on late payments anyway noted Kenney, but if no payments are made for 90 days, the village automatically places the amount owing on property tax bills and charges a $40 fee.

She stated councillors decided to suspend the 90-day limit and waive the $40 fee while the pandemic is occurring.

Bills are still expected to be paid, however.

Also, councillors decided to defer additions to the tax arrears list to Sept. 15. Kenney stated council decided to do this to give people who are two years behind on their taxes an extra few months to catch up.

Snowbird conundrum

Kenney stated councillors debated a problem brought forward by a member of the public who noted snowbirds, who are Canadians travelling out of the country for winter who return in the spring, may have a residency problem upon their return to Clive if they plan on parking an RV in a friend’s yard.

Specifically, the village only allows this for up to 30 days. However, it was pointed out that coronavirus measures could mean campgrounds or RV parks elsewhere are closed, leaving nowhere for snowbirds to go.

Financial statement

Village of Clive auditor BDO gave the results of their audit of the 2019 financial statements.

Kenney stated BDO gave the village’s finances a clean bill of health. The auditor also noted the village is well below its debt limit.

The village had an operating surplus of roughly $60,000 last year, and councillors decided to allocate the money to cover increased policing costs and the fibre optic project reserve.

Kenney stated the surplus was related to projects coming in under budget.

Councillors accepted the report for information.

Closure of parks

Clive council also discussed the closure of municipal parks, related to measures like social distancing intended to slow or eliminate the spread of COVID-19.

Council decided to close municipal recreation fields such as baseball diamonds and soccer fields until further notice.

They also decided to suspend all village public events up to June 30, which includes the FunFest which was scheduled for June 20.

Kenney stated no decision has been made on whether the 2020 event is cancelled or will be re-scheduled.

Councillors ultimately decided to stay with the 30-day limit, which easily covers the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for snowbirds will have to follow upon their return to Canada.

Kenney noted the provincial government is expected to make an announcement about snowbird issues soon.

Snowbird conundrum

Kenney stated councillors debated a problem brought forward by a member of the public who noted snowbirds, who are Canadians travelling out of the country for winter who return in the spring, may have a residency problem upon their return to Clive if they plan on parking an RV in a friend’s yard.

Specifically, the village only allows this for up to 30 days.

However, it was pointed out that coronavirus measures could mean campgrounds or RV parks elsewhere are closed, leaving nowhere for snowbirds to go. 

Council was asked to waive the 30-day limit until the pandemic is over.

Kenney stated councillors discussed related problems such as the issue of increased sewage.

Councillors ultimately decided to stay with the 30-day limit, which easily covers the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine snowbirds will have to follow upon their return to Canada.

Kenney noted the provincial government is expected to make an announcement about snowbird issues soon.

Fibre optic program

Councillors decided to apply for a federal grant program with partner Missing Link that could provide for up to $1.2 million to install fibre optic internet lines in the village.

Kenney noted right now most of the village only has access to older DSL lines. 

The village’s share of the project would be 25 per cent. She said councillors view high-speed internet as essential to the growth and prosperity of the village.

The grant results will be reported at a future meeting and Kenney stated, if successful, the project would go ahead in 2021 or 2022.

Possible pharmacy

Kenney stated councillors discussed the results of an informal survey conducted on the village’s website, which asked local residents and stakeholders whether or not they’d like to see a pharmacy located inside the Village of Clive.

The CAO stated respondents to the survey were supportive of a pharmacy opening in the village. 

Currently, the closest pharmacies would require a trip to either Lacombe or Alix.

The survey was conducted after a pharmacist approached the council and asked about the viability of such a business in the village.

Talks between the village and the pharmacist will continue, added the CAO.

 

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Journalist

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Journalist

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.
He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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