An hour before the regular Village of Delburne meeting on November 23, a budget committee convened to review, question and propose changes to the 2022/23 budget. The final vote on the budget will be held at the December 14 meeting.
Once the council meeting convened, Councillor Tim Wilson emphasized that the strategy of council over the years has been to increase the tax base, not increase mill rates. Once again, the 2022/23 budget will not have a mill rate increase.
All councillors agreed the Village was well managed financially, however, the big issue that exists is ageing infrastructure. “The one we don’t have any control over”, said Councillor Ray Reckseidler.
The $194,100 capital improvement budget includes cleaning a lagoon cell, installing energy-efficient windows in the municipal building office and a $5,000 trade-in arrangement to replace the John Deer skid steer annually. In addition, a $50,000 grant from the Canadian Federation of Municipalities will be used for the Geographic Information System (GIS) project.
The Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), totalling $110,750, will be used for miscellaneous utility upgrades, hydrocarbon testing at 2718 – 20 Street, chip seal and sidewalk repairs at various locations, curb stop replacements, staff training and strategic planning.
The province’s charge for rural policing is $24,232, an $8,089 increase from last year. The costs will increase by 5 per cent per year until rural municipalities reach 30 per cent of total costs in 2024.
The provincial government has not yet advised what the education assessment will be for property owners. The education assessment is collected by municipalities on behalf of the province.
A motion was unanimously approved to use excess asphalt gravel to create a few parking spaces behind the burned-out and recently cleared lot on main street. Parking has always been an issue for those accessing the Village Office.
Councillor Jeff Bourne generated a lively discussion by suggesting we stop using Covid as a reason for inaction and get our community excited again about volunteerism and community events. Many ideas were tossed around on how to bring back community re-engagement and enthusiasm.
“We’ve all suffered from the vacuum caused by Covid”, said Councillor Tim Nelson, “but let’s bring back 2022 better than ever.” Village News will be used to start the communication, incentivize, share ideas, re-establish committees and re-invigorate the community.
During Snowflake Saturday, there will be limited activities, but many of the favourite activities—sleigh rides, hot chocolate in the park and the parade will once again be cancelled.
CAO Karen Fagan advised that Delburne’s South Area Structure Plan needs to be amended before any development would be allowed. She will report back to the Council.
The provincial government is hosting a series of meetings across the province to promote the advantages of replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force. Four Delburne councillors have been invited to a February 7 session in Red Deer. During the session, municipalities will also be given an opportunity to provide comments.