COVID-19 doesn’t stop Delia from operating

Two topics were brought to the attention of the Delia council at meeting on Thurs. April 9 in council chambers including the potential of waiving tax penalties for three months beginning in April.

The second item was about possibly having currently enrolled monthly tax instalments be deferred by three months without penalties, due to the virus.

Both Mayor David Sisley and Deputy Mayor Jordan Elliott were both present while Coun. Robyn Thompson-Lake was able to participate via phone call.

They unanimously agreed to accept both recommendations.

The village collects approximately $100 to $125 in late fees each month so they expect to see a loss of under $500.

“If people don’t make payments the bills are continuing to accrue for 90 days and then people can make arrangements to repay the amounts after,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mark Nikota.

“To clarify, so I hope people understand that these deferrals are not a waiver, that the amounts are still due; they are just not having to pay them right now.”

Since the village’s last meeting, not as much action has been needed in regards to responding to COVID-19 as many of their procedures have been enacted.

“We have not activated the Emergency Coordination Centre nor declared a Local State of Emergency as it was determined there is no need at this time as our response has been sufficient,” said CAO Nikota.

The village has put in measures to keep regular village operation running in the event a staff member becomes unavailable to work.

Talks have happened between emergency responders like Starland County’s emergency services to make sure everyone is on the same page in the event something happens specifically within the village.

They have sufficient supply of items at the moment in case it’s needed and the CAO noted the village is quite ready in terms of finances.

“We are in a fairly good place cashflow wise,” he said. I don’t see any issues over the next few months.”

As for property taxes, the province has introduced a property tax deferral on the education portion of these taxes for non-residential property owners like commercial businesses.

There is a six month deferral on the education requisition which is typically collected in October.

For this year, only 50 per cent will be collected in that month with the rest being due in 2021.

Delia typically does not collect its taxes until mid-September so the CAO has found this to not be an issue for property owners as it would only affect owners that currently utilize the monthly tax payment option.

Councillor reports

Mayor Sisley had been involved in a couple of meetings including the local Community Futures and Drumheller Seniors Foundation.

Community Futures has decided to give away $5,000 worth of Freson Bros. gift cards, $2,500 of which will be put in Salvation Army food hampers.

The remaining half will be dispersed to partnering communities like Delia.

Sisley asked about compiling a list of people who may be in need but the rest of council felt this encroached on privacy issues.

At the moment their portion of gift cards may be given to a local organization to disperse.

As for the Drumheller Seniors Foundation, Sisley was proud to announce that not a single resident within any of the lodges including Sunshine Lodge and Hillview Lodge in Drumheller is sick at the moment.

“No sniffles or nothing wrong with them,” he added. Although this is the case, COVID-19 has still shut down all visitors from stopping by.

An issue they have run into is the amount of cleaning done in a day.

The staff who are trained to properly clean these spaces drops by at least three times a but now a government-run group is now coming in after hours to do another thorough cleaning job.

They are concerned as these people have come from outside where they could bring in the virus without knowing it.

The foundation has approached the government about this issue but is awaiting a response.

The expansion to Sunshine Lodge to convert the old wing into an SL4 unit is on hold at the moment as well as the foundation waits for some provincial signatures confirming they will pick up the bill for most of the construction and whatever else was agreed upon.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.