Council handling outstanding business

A special meeting by Morrin council to deal with 10 outstanding business items was held on Mon. Aug. 27.

“Some of these things were getting ahead of us so we just wanted to get a handle on some of these things,” said Mayor Howard Helton.

When questioned as to the status of the Municipal Affairs resolution inspection status that was asked for in the March 21 meeting, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner explained that “it caused quite a confusion at Municipal Affairs” with the province-wide municipal review of all villages and towns which had occurred at Morrin council’s August meeting.

“I have contacted the Minister again and he is reviewing and setting up a schedule,” said Plachner.

The process for the Municipal Review is for government to observe a meeting and go through bylaws etcetera, established by the amended Municipal Affairs Act (MGA) with the CAO.

The process for a Municipal Inspection requested by councils or by petition of ratepayers is for the government to interview ratepayers, staff and council members individually as well as attend meetings and go through municipal bylaws, financials, minutes, et cetera.

Utility bills

Utility bills all have been adjusted accordingly, said CAO Plachner when asked. The increase in utilities had been billed a month earlier in error.

“A lot of residents said just leave it but I went in and adjusted every account,” said the CAO.

RV parking

“Five [RV Parking] notices were sent out on Thursday,” said CAO Plachner.

When asked if copies of the bylaw were included with the notice, CAO confirmed that the notice was just taped to the door of the RVs.

“I’d like them to review and see the whole bylaw,” said Helton. “I prefer that approach rather than the notice on the wall. I guess that didn’t happen?”

Coun. Dr. Robert (Bob) Graham, when asked if the less confrontational approach had been the understanding at the previous meeting agreed responding that, “Yes, more instructional before giving out fines and what not.”

Unsightly premises

Two notices were sent out to residents regarding their unsightly premises in the village.

CAO Plachner noted that one of the notices had to go to Vancouver where the owner of the property resides.

A notice will be going out with the next utility bill.

“As we discussed before it was going to be just a pep talk sort of thing,” stated Helton. “Remember we’re going to phrase it as we are going to try and keep the village tidy and we would appreciate cooperation and that there is a bylaw that we would prefer not to enforce if people would step up.”

Dave Benci of Public Works reported that he had researched refuse barrels where he found a range of prices but was unable to obtain any photos.

Coun. Graham questioned how much was council planning on spending.

“That’s what we were going to decide once we saw them and the prices,” said Helton.

The item was put off to the next meeting.

Sidewalk repairs

Council motioned to repair half the ‘tripping points’ on the sidewalks by hiring a company that will be in Drumheller shortly.

The company grinds them down and makes them very smooth said Benci who took the time to look at sidewalk repairs in Drumheller.

Benci estimated 60 to 65 in the village.

“I would say we do half this year and half next year. Get the worse half this year,” said Graham.

Benci has not been able to obtain prices on painting the curbs or Curb Stop wells for shutting off water into each residence.

Benci also reported that there were 185 Curb Stops that are not in a well in the Village of Morrin with 10 he was unable to find.

Curb stops are for shutting off water to each residence in the case of an emergency.

“The trick is finding it. I’m afraid some may be along fence lines and some under the sidewalk,” noted Benci. “Sometimes they are hard to find, but we’ll find them.”

“I’m a little concerned that maybe not everyone wants one [well] but it would sure save a lot of time after if they are metal then they’ll be easy to find. I haven’t had any real problems,” said Benci.

“So how important is it to actually do this?” asked Coun. Graham. “I don’t know if it really gains,” said Benci, “but yes it will be easier to see, easier to find. Some are in the back alley, some are in the lawn. Most important thing is finding them I guess?”

“I dig up lots of pieces of rebar, a nail but there is no map,” said Benci.

“That’s my issue,” said Mayor Helton. “When it’s out of sight, picture yourself in a real emergency when the homeowner is flooding and we are running around on the lawn trying to find it. That’s my big issue.”

Mayor Helton stated the Curb Stop wells was intended to be “only considered for ones that are buried. It wasn’t for those that are visible.

“It was just to make the ones you can’t access in an emergency and it’s a safety issue.”

Benci will reassess to determine the actual numbers that may be required in the ongoing maintenance of these curb stops.

“Some will take a little bit of time to dig them out,” said Benci.

Council motioned to purchase 10 wells to begin with at approximately $30 and continue purchasing as inventory is used up. It will be considered a maintenance project.

Coun. Graham confirmed, “As time permits, we can do the worse ones first.”

Tax sale

“Two properties had caveats put on by legal firms,” reported CAO Plachner so they have to be removed by the courts which takes time. “As soon as I get them back, the steps will be taken to move forward with the tax sale.”

Sewer repair

Council motioned to hire a contractor for the Joe Peloquin residence sewer repair.

“We need to fulfil our resolution that we passed earlier, January 17, that the village will repair the village portion,” stated Helton.

Bin location

In an effort to beautify the village, councillors have been looking at relocating the garbage bins off of main street.

Helton indicated he was hoping to stimulate more thought on this issue as so far, no other location has been found.

“It can’t be on County property,” said the CAO.

A decorative fence of some sort was the one option suggested previously.

Genset/fire pump status

CAO Plachner reported that she had talked to Glen Riep, Manager of Municipal Services for Starland County, who is going to start working on it.

“It’s a $60,000 project so the County [Starland] is going to cost-share with us . . . and it should be completed by the fall,” said Plachner.

Council must decide if they want it on the inside of the pump house, which would require extensive repairs, or outside.

Mayor asked for more information as outside opposed to inside regarding weatherproofing and so on before making a final decision.

The meeting was adjourned with no motions following a 34-minute in camera session.

 

Joyce Webster

ECA Review

About the author

ECA Review Publisher